The Bradford Rattlers hosted the Meaford Knights on Sunday, Jan. 22, for their sixth game over a nine-day stretch, adding to their league-leading winning streak to make it 14 games.
The game started with the team's Flag Bearers, Ryan B. from Innisfil and Aria D. from Barrie, taking the ice with the help of Alexander as they skated around the Rattlers zone and gave the team first bumps for the announcement of the starting lineups. Aria especially enjoyed the night as a long-time Rattlers fan and Billet sister to two of the players, sporting the Jersey of one of her favourite former players, former Team Heart award-winner Adam Briski of Slovenia.
When asked her favourite players for this year, 6-year-old Aria said without hesitation: “I cheer for my Lukas [Roy] (#55) and my Max [Ivanov] (#35); they will get all the goals and stop all the pucks! They help me learn to skate and are always so nice and fun!”
Aria, the youngest of six children who’s family has been involved in the billeting program since she was born, was saddened last year when the family took a year off of billeting. “I missed my hockey players!” Aria is quoted saying, “they always treat me nice and play games with me and teach me how to play hockey at home! I love watching them play hockey! Go RATTLERS! I want to be a Goalie like Max [Ivanov] and Milan [Koznar, Rattlers ’19-‘20].”
To say that billeting for the Rattlers hasn’t shaped and love of hockey for the children would be a massive understatement.
Despite the final score, the game itself was a hard-fought battle, with the Meaford Knights fighting hard against the Rattlers without ever relenting. The Rattlers would start off the scoring with goals by the Canadian line featuring Thor Brighton (#10) of Newmarket, Ont. draining the first puck thanks to assists from Lukas Roy (#55) of St-Jerome, Quebec and Chris Castrignano (#15) of Toronto, Ont. at 11:39. The goal would be quickly followed by Stephan Levitskiy (#14) assisted by Georgie Trifiov (#16) at 13:40 and rounded off by Chris Castrignanon and Lukas Roy again at 14:05. The Knights would retaliate with their own goal at 16:39 by Cooper Salter (#16), assisted by Darcy Lowe (#8) at 16:39 to end the first period 3-1 in favour of the Rattlers.
The second period would be a constant hard-hitting battle by both teams. With hard centre ice hits and puck battles in the corners, both teams showed they were there to play, and neither was willing to take it easy. The Rattlers battled to the sole goal of the second period, scored by Captain Julian McCarthy (#5), assisted by Adam Witkowski (#68) at 9:25.
The third period continued the contest with the Knights not willing to concede and continued the fight with hard hits and battles in the Corners. But the Rattlers wouldn’t give them an inch by standing tall and strong against the Meaford attack. The Rattlers would get the only goal of the period at 12:20 from Danila Filippov (#4), assisted by Georgie Trofimov and Arvid Malm (#19).
Three stars of the game were:
- Bradford Rattlers – Oliver Balazs with 30 saves from 31 shots
- Bradford Rattlers – Chris Castrignano with one goal and one assist
- Bradford Rattlers – Lukas Roy with two assists
The Rattlers play again in West Nipissing on Friday at 7:30 p.m., the game can be caught live on gmhl.tv and played via youtube.
The Bradford Rattlers host the Bradford Bulls on Sunday, Jan. 29, for the Battle for Bradford. The game will be hosted live on Rogers TV Channel 10. We welcome all members of the community to come out and cheer loud for their favourite Bradford team!
Door prizes and team tattoos will be available all night, along with a special event puck drop for the evening's special event game.
Fans are also encouraged to bring a food donation to the game as the Bradford Rattlers welcome the participation of the Helping Hand Food Bank to the game for the night.