St. Marys wins opening-round series 3-0
By Pat Payton
Mt. Brydges Cougars put up a good fight, but the Firefighter ‘BB’ Peewees managed to complete a three-game sweep of their best-of-five OMHA playoff series Monday night at the PRC.
A 3-1 victory over the Cougars moves Dwain Smith’s Firefighters to the next round of provincial playdowns. They will meet either Strathroy Jr. Rockets or Dorchester Dragons. Early this week, Strathroy held a 2-1 series lead.
In Monday’s Game 3 in St. Marys, all the scoring came in the second period.
Mt. Brydges opened the scoring at 1:03 of the middle frame. However, Firefighters were quick to respond as centre Jimmy Schiedel tied it just 13 seconds later. Linemates Ian and Owen Boyd assisted. Only 17 seconds after that, Schiedel beat the Cougars’ goalie between the legs with a low shot and it stood up as the winner.
“We answered right back,” coach Smith said in his post-game summary.
Defenceman Ethan Brine put St. Marys up by two at the 9:23 mark when his shot from the point found the back of the Mt. Brydges’ net. Captain Schiedel, with his third point of the night, and Rourke McEwan drew assists.
The Rock buzzed around the Cougars’ net during a couple of third-period powerplays, but were unable to extend their lead. Mt. Brydges pulled its goalie for an extra attacker with over a minute to play, but didn’t threaten due to strong forechecking by the home team.
“Mt. Brydges is a good, well-coached team,” coach Smith said. “We didn’t want to leave anything to chance and go back down to their barn. If they won here, anything could happen down there.
“We had all three lines going again, and our penalty-kill was good tonight,” he added. “We’re doing the little things right . . . and Carter Froggett made the key saves when he had to.”
Third-period comeback Sunday
Game 2 was originally scheduled for last Thursday night in St. Marys, but was postponed due to fog. It was played on Sunday at the PRC, and the Firefighters pulled out a dramatic, come-from-behind 6-5 victory over the Cougars to take a commanding lead in the series.
The Rock started slowly and trailed 5-1 after two periods. However, Firefighters thrilled the home-town fans with five unanswered goals in the final 15 minutes.
“Tonight, we came out flat, flat, flat in the first two periods, and usually we’re a high offensive team right off the jump,” coach Smith said. “We only had two shots on net in the second period.
“In the third, we changed all that. We didn’t dump it in the corner; we had everything going to the net. Once we got a couple of goals, we saw that it worked. We have lines that can score, and checking lines and penalty-killers, but we had to get our scoring lines out there in the third.”
Mt. Brydges tried to sit on its big lead in the final 15 minutes. The visitors continually iced the puck, and the defensive strategy back-fired.
Ian Boyd got Firefighters’ comeback started at 3:19 of the third with his second of the game. Goals by Jimmy Schiedel and defenceman Rourke McEwan left the home team trailing by just a goal with still over seven minutes to play.
Ryan Hodkinson tied it 5-5 with 3:19 left on the clock, converting a rebound, and Jaden Shiell roofed the winner with just 1:38 remaining.
Cougars pulled their goalie for an extra attacker, and St. Marys goalie Josh Ballantyne made a big stop in tight with 31 seconds left to preserve the lead.
Captain Schiedel also had three assists to finish with a four-point game. Ian Boyd added three points, while McEwan and Shiell earned two apiece.
Overall, Firefighters out-shot Mt. Brydges 24-12, with 16 of those shots coming in the final 15 minutes.
“Tomorrow night (Monday), we have to play with more urgency,” coach Smith said after Game 2. “We have to get off to a better start. We can’t take them for granted. We’re used to winning and you can’t get complacent. We need a quicker start right out of the gate.”
Win opener on road
The Firefighter Peewees started the best-of-five OMHA series on Monday, Jan. 8 in Mt. Brydges. Dwain Smith’s squad scored on a goal in each period in a 3-2 victory over the Cougars.
Scoring for St. Marys were Finn Stewart, Peyton Lobb and Jimmy Schiedel, with Ryan Hodkinson contributing two assists. Schiedel fired the game winner midway through the third period, snapping a 2-2 tie. Ian and Owen Boyd assisted.