‘Best effort’ in weeks not enough to keep Sutherland Cup dreams alive for Meteors

The Fort Erie Meteors will not be raising the Sutherland Cup this year. That honour will go to either the St. Marys Lincolns or the the Listowel Cyclones.

Fort Erie’s Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (COJHL) team came just short, despite fan support brought by bus, falling 3-2 to the Lincolns on Friday night.

Two nights earlier, the Cyclones defeated the Meteors with a score of 4-1 at the Leisureplex.

Zac Mizzi and Blake Hall notched the goals for Fort Erie against St. Marys. Chaka-Benjamin Ntumba-Muntu scored the Meteors’ goal against Listowel.

That gave the Meteors a 1-3 record in the round robin and they were eliminated.

Credit: Fort Erie Jr B Meteors | Facebook

“I thought we were really good,” said Meteors general manager and head coach Nik Passero.

“It was probably our best effort in a couple weeks but we just got unlucky and come up a little bit short,” he said. “The guys came with a good effort.”

Passero said the Meteors had a “slow start” to the round robin. “It is tough to claw your way back when you are matched up against the best teams in the province,” he noted.

Looking back at the season, he pointed to several highlights.

The first happened back in October when the team raised $25,000 to help a local boy dealing with leukemia.

Others, he said, included the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) debut of two players–Charlie Burns and Andrew MacNiel–and rookie forward Liam Beamish committing to Division 1 Penn State.

“That was huge for our program,” Passero said. “That was some big stuff.”

The Meteors will be holding a rookie camp from May 29 to June 1.

“We are looking to build on what we have done here and continue forward,” he said.

While Ntumba-Muntu and Hall will move on from the team due to age, and Passero anticipates there will be other call-ups, he said much of the team will be returning next year.

“I’ll be forever grateful for this group and what they have done,” he said. “They are champions forever.”

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