A winning start. That is the objective that is being echoed by Jamaica Scorpions coach Junior Bennett, as the team heads into battle today with defending champions and co-hosts, Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in the feature game of the opening round of the WICB NAGICO Super50 Tournament at Queen’s Park Oval.One of four matches on the day, the day/night Group A encounter, which can be seen on television network ESPN Caribbean, is slated to bowl off at 12:30 p.m. Jamaica time.”We will be looking (for) a positive start, a winning start, as we don’t want to play catch-up cricket,” said Bennett.”They are at home and we expect their fans to be heavily behind them. But we are not daunted.”We have prepared well and our confidence level is good.”Beaten at the semi-final stage last year, the Scorpions will enter the encounter under the supervision of first-time captain, John Campbell.The 22-year-old opener, a former West Indies Under-19 vice-captain, will be participating in his third Super50 and will be hoping to rise to the occasion, particularly as it relates to the batting unit.The batting is fairly young with former captain and veteran, Tamar Lambert, the most experienced.It also includes Antiguan-born Devon Thomas, the in-form AndrÈ McCarthy, Shacaya Thomas, Guyanese-born opener Trevon Griffith and the exciting Brandon King.West Indies batsman Jermaine Blackwood is set to join the team after the first three of six group fixtures.The Scorpions’ bowling, in the meanwhile – in the absence of Jerome Taylor, who is also scheduled to join the team for the latter stages – will be led by left-arm fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell and ever-reliable left-arm spinner, Nikita Miller.”It’s a balanced unit, a little bit of inexperience, but a raw-talented one with a lot of potential,” stated Bennett.The Red Force, in the meanwhile, are bereft of their most established players like Jamaica, due to either West Indies or worldwide Twenty20 leagues.TOPPLAYERSTheir most experienced players will be Guyanese-born batsman Narsingh Deonarine, fast bowling all-rounder Rayad Emrit, emerging batsman Jason Mohammed and leg-spinner Imran Khan.The other matchup in Group A will see 2014 winners Barbados Pride against ICC Americas at the Sir Frank Worrell Cricket Ground.Meanwhile, in Group B, which will be contested in St Kitts and Nevis, home of the Leeward Islands Hurricanes, the hosts will face Combined Campuses and Colleges Marooners at Warner Park, while at St Paul’s, last year’s runners-up Guyana Jaguars will meet Windward Islands Volcanoes.TEAMS:Jamaica Scorpions:- John Campbell (captain), Trevon Griffith, Jermaine Harrison, Andre McCarthy, Jermaine Blackwood, Tamar Lambert, Brandon King, Devon Thomas, Nikita Miller, Damion Jacobs, Aldaine Thomas, Marquino Mindley, Sheldon Cotterell, Jerome Taylor. Reserves: Shacaya Thomas, Nicholson Gordon.Trinidad Red Force:- Jason Mohammed, Yannick Ottley, Steven Katwaroo, Kyle Hope, Evin Lewis, Narsingh Deonarine, Kjorn Ottley, Kevon Cooper, Akeal Hosein Imran Khan, Philton Williams, Marlon Richards, Rayad Emrit, Jon Ros Jagessar.
However, with the Flyers aware of just how important the next goal would be, the home team buckled down and upped their offensive pressure, which paid off in the dying minutes of the second. With 2:14 left in the second, a battle in front of Mulholland between Lalonde and May resulted in an accidental high stick to the face of May, resulting in the Powell River defenseman to drop to the ice with blood leaking from his face. As the Regals defenseman lay on the ice, no whistle sounded but play seemed to slow down, something Flyers forward Tyler Brough recognized, and smartly threw the puck on net, beating Mulholland for the game tying goal.Following a brief conversation between the officials, the face-off was set for centre ice, as the scoreboard read 2-2 concluding the second.The tie game didn’t last long in the third, as the Flyers exploded offensively in the final frame, scoring four goals in a span of 8:39. Ryan Carter got the ball rolling, followed by goals from Gary Gladue, Tyler Brough’s second of the game, and capped off by Rod Stevens, for a 6-2 Flyers lead.Advertisement It was a bit of a different looking Flyers squad for game four, as Girard Dicaire was absent on the blue line due to injury, allowing affiliate player and Fort St. John Huskies defenseman Taylor Greatrex an opportunity to play in his first Savage Cup game, while also showcasing the skills of Clayton Pool in net.It didn’t take Greatrex much time to contribute to the Flyers success, firing a quick wrist shot on net 12:13 into the first, beating a screened Justin Mulholland to provide the Flyers a 1-0 lead.Following the game, head coach Darrel Leahy gave praise to the young defenseman playing in his first Savage Cup game.- Advertisement -“He (Greatrex) had a great game, he played well, skated well, didn’t hurt us, no one got around him, he didn’t cough up the puck and made great plays coming out of our end. Couldn’t have asked for anything more of him.”The one goal lead lasted until 1:39 into the second period, when Regals forward John Coyle scored for Powell River, tying the important game at 1-1.Coyle wasn’t finished there, as the speedy forward scored his second straight game at 17:07 of the second, providing the Regals a 2-1 lead, and silencing the crowd of the North Peace Arena.Advertisement Despite two more goals from the Regals, an empty net by Rick Cleaver sealed the game for the Flyers, 7-4, who with the win, avoided losing the 100th Savage Cup to Powell River for the second straight year, forcing a decisive, winner-take-all game five, which will be played Monday at the North Peace Arena.A big factor in the Flyers game four win was discipline, specifically not taking useless penalties that have proven costly in past games. Coach Leahy said it was something the team discussed entering Sunday’s elimination game.“For whatever reason, we did take less penalties, and there were no stupid penalties. We had four of them last night (Saturday) that were very stupid. So it was a big difference, we talked about it, focused on it and it worked.”After four intense, entertaining and emotional games, the 100th Savage Cup will be determined by one game, which will be played Monday evening at the North Peace Arena. The winner of tomorrow’s game will be crowned Savage Cup champions, and will have the privilege of representing BC at the upcoming Allan Cup. Monday’s decisive game five begins at 8 p.m.Advertisement