By Pat Payton
STRATHROY – Sparked by centre Colton Henderson’s three goals, the Golf and Country Club ‘BB’ Atoms skated to a convincing 7-2 victory over the home-town Jr. Rockets here Tuesday night.
The win gives Dan Schiedel’s squad a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five, second-round OMHA playoff series. Game 3 is tonight (Friday, Feb. 2) at the PRC at 6:45 p.m. If necessary, Game 4 is Thursday, Feb. 8 in Strathroy, starting at 6 p.m.
At the Gemini rink Tuesday, Henderson scored a goal in each period and also added an assist for a four-point night. The singles came off the sticks of Nate Schiedel, Jayden Tipping, Trevor Richardson and Adam Turner. Tipping also earned a pair of assists.
Julian Walsh recorded the net win for the Rock, who built period leads of 2-0 and 4-0.
Late powerplay goal
In the series opener last Wednesday, Jan. 24 at the PRC, Jayden Tipping’s powerplay goal with 3:47 remaining to play snapped a 2-2 tie and lifted the G&CC Atoms to a hard-fought 3-2 victory. Earning assists on the winner were Nate Schiedel and Griffin McGregor, with his third point of the contest.
In a close game from start to finish, St. Marys took a 1-0 lead early in the second period on a goal by McGregor. It stayed that way until McGregor made it 2-0 at 3:24 of the third, converting a goal-mouth pass from Colton Henderson.
The Jr. Rockets wouldn’t quit, however, and the visitors tied it with goals–just 57 seconds apart–midway through the period. Just 1:29 after the tying goal, Tipping fired the winner for the home team.
Cyler Pickering picked up the net win.
Expecting tough series
After the game, coach Dan Schiedel said his Atoms were expecting a tough series.
“We’ve played Strathroy a few times this year, and they’re a gritty, grinding team just like our team,” he said. “I thought we were opportunistic tonight; we scored on a couple of good chances that we had.
“We told our guys that we did enough to get the job done tonight, but we can still elevate our game. At times we played well and at other times we let our foot off the gas. We’ll definitely be ready for Game 2 down there (in Strathroy) next Tuesday. We just have to out-battle and out-compete them.”
Firefighters, Rockets tied 1-1
The best-of-five, second-round OMHA series between the Firefighter ‘BB’ Peewees and Strathroy Jr. Rockets is deadlocked 1-1. Rockets tied the series with a 4-2 home-ice win Tuesday night.
Game 3 is Monday, Feb. 5 at the PRC, starting at 8:20 p.m. Game 4 is Thursday, Feb. 8 in Strathroy at 8 p.m.
In the series opener Wednesday, Jan. 24 in St. Marys, the Firefighters built early 4-0 and 5-1 leads and then held off the Rockets for a 7-4 victory.
St. Marys carried a 5-2 lead into the third, but twice Strathroy pulled to within two goals. The visitors trailed 6-4 with almost six minutes to play, but that’s as close as they’d get. Defenceman Ethan Brine clinched the Rock win with an unassisted empty-netter with 1:14 left to play.
Centres Jimmy Schiedel and Ryan Hodkinson paced the Firefighters’ offence, each with two goals and an assist. The goals for captain Schiedel were his 50th and 51st of the season.
In addition to Brine, the other singles came off the sticks of Owen Boyd and Peyton Lobb. Finn Stewart chipped in a pair of assists.
Both the Schiedel and Hodkinson lines collected six points.
Griffin Cann was the big gunner for the Jr. Rockets with three goals.
Strathroy took five of the six minor penalties, and St. Marys twice capitalized on powerplays. The net win went to Carter Froggett.
Firefighters’ coach Dwain Smith said his team was going to have to keep a close eye on Cann for the remainder of the series.
“Strathroy played No. 5 (Cann) a lot,” Smith said. “They were putting him outside their zone and then feeding him, and he hurt us for three goals.
“We just talked in the dressing room how we’re going to solve him. We have to close the gap on him. I noticed he got a lot of goals in the (first-round) Dorchester series, too. When he gets out of his zone, he’s dangerous.”
Like the Atoms, coach Smith said he also expected a tough series from the Rockets.
“We know they’re going to come hard all the time,” he said. “They’ve got some skilled players, and we have to stick to our game plan. Tonight wasn’t a 7-4 win, the game was closer than 7-4.”