By Pat Payton
Special to the Independent
Despite a 2-1 home-ice loss to South Huron Sabres on Dec. 13, coach Brandon Boyd sees positive signs going forward with his ANAF ‘BB’ Bantams.
Sabres’ goalie Tomas Brintnell was plain and simply the difference in this Shamrock League game, frustrating Rock shooters all night.
“I’ve been told that we out-shot them 45-13,” coach Boyd said following the game.
The St. Marys team picked up three minor penalties in the first period, and South Huron opened the scoring on a 5-on-3 powerplay late in the frame. The visitors then scored what stood up as the winner at 9:06 of the second period. Following the goal, the ANAF squad applied big pressure around the Sabres’ net, but couldn’t get a puck behind Brintnell.
The Rock continued their assault on the South Huron net in the third. Finally, with just over six minutes remaining, a poor line-change by the Sabres allowed affiliate player Loghan Hodkinson to break in all alone and he made no mistake. The goal was unassisted.
Boyd pulled goalie Nolan Shackleton for a sixth attacker with over a minute to play. Again, St. Marys swarmed around the South Huron net, but Brintnell and his teammates weathered the storm and skated off with a one-goal victory.
“Despite the score, there were a lot of positives with our group tonight,” Boyd noted. “We applied good pressure, we were passing the puck and moving to open areas. We generated a lot of scoring chances.
“We deserved to win, but it just didn’t happen tonight. More often than not, you walk away with a win after dominating like that.”
Reflecting back to October, the coach adds that his team has made big strides over the past two months.
“We’re a lot more hungrier,” he said. “There’s a competitive edge that wasn’t there earlier in the season. And the offensive creativity is starting to come. It’s stuff that we work on in practice.
“Scoring has been an issue all season. But in the last three or four weeks, we’ve started to click.”
The third-place ANAF Bantams (10-6-1) complete their SHL regular schedule Saturday, Dec. 23 with a game in Wallaceburg against the Lakers. In 17 league games to date, the team has allowed just 30 goals.
The Rock leaves for Regional Silver Stick competition in Pelham (Dec. 27-29) on Boxing Day.