By Pat Payton
Special to the Independent
An unbeaten Shamrock Hockey League season! The Firefighter ‘BB’ Peewees recently completed an almost perfect SHL regular schedule.
An 8-1 victory over Petrolia Oilers and a 4-1 triumph over Ilderton Jets extended Firefighters’ league winning streak to 14 games and gave Dwain Smith’s squad a very impressive record of 19-0-1 and 39 points atop the Group 1 standings. A 6-6 tie in Strathroy in mid-October was the only league game the Rock didn’t win this season.
In 20 Shamrock games, the St. Marys team scored 110 goals and allowed only 24 against.
On Monday, Dec. 18 at the PRC, the Firefighters built period leads of 2-0 and 3-0 against Ilderton (11-5-2).
Captain Jimmy Schiedel, Finn Stewart, Peyton Lobb and Owen Boyd (powerplay) paced the Rock offence, each with a goal and an assist. Ryan Hodkinson and Ian Boyd both contributed two assists.
Ethan Alexander scored the lone Jets’ goal early in the third.
Five-point outing for Hodkinson
On Saturday, Dec. 16 in Petrolia, Ryan Hodkinson powered the Firefighters’ attack with four goals in a convincing win over the Oilers. Hodkinson also earned an assist for a five-point outing.
Jaden Shiell added a pair of goals, while Peyton Lobb and Jimmy Schiedel had the singles.
St. Marys led 3-0 after the first period and 7-0 going into the third.
Coach Smith says it’s been a total team effort this season, with everyone contributing. To date, the team has lost just three games all season, with two coming in the Exeter tournament.
“It starts with our goalies (Carter Froggett and Josh Ballantyne) and goes on out,” he said. “They’ve been outstanding, and they’re getting better as the season goes on.
“We also have three lines that contribute. We have two scoring lines and a good checking line. We have a line that doesn’t score a lot of goals, but they keep the puck out of our end. When you’re only allowing one goal in some games, they’re doing their job. Everybody on this team has a role and they’re buying into it.”
Smith also tipped his hat to his defence, who have obviously played a big part in the team’s very low goals-against record.
“Our defencemen have done a great job stopping teams in the neutral zone,” he pointed out. “They don’t allow teams to get past centre ice, and it’s nice to watch. They don’t allow other teams to come into our zone with possession of the puck.
“And all our defencemen can shoot the puck, so we’re getting scoring from the back-end as well.”
The coach says his team is always ready to play.
“I bet you we’ve had six games where we’ve scored on the first shift,” Smith noted. “We get them focused in the dressing room and when they hit the ice, they’re ready to play. Those first-shift goals, that gives us a lead and we just keep on going from there.
“All in all, I’m pretty excited about this team.”
–Not surprising, the Firefighters posted the best record in the Shamrock League’s Peewee division.
–Earlier this season, the Peewee BBs won tournaments in Gravenhurst and Dehli.
–Coach Smith wishes to thank affiliate players such as Nate Schiedel and Isaac Zurbrigg for their contributions to date.