Games 3 and 4 in OMHA series this coming weekend
By Pat Payton
ERIN-HILLSBURGH – After seven straight OMHA playoffs wins, the Golf and Country Club ‘BB’ Atoms dropped a 5-4 decision to the Erin-Hillsburgh Devils here Sunday afternoon.
The best-of-five provincial quarter-final series is now deadlocked 1-1.
“I thought we out-chanced them, but their goalie was the difference,” Rock coach Dan Schiedel told the Independent. “He made some timely saves for them; he was the key to their win today.
“Erin-Hillsburgh is a gritty team, and we weren’t getting the second and third (scoring) chances today. But we’ll be all right. I’m confident our guys will bounce back,” he added.
The teams were tied 1-1 after the first period, but St. Marys held a 4-3 advantage going into the final 15 minutes. Devils tied it early in the third, and then netted the winner with 4:35 left on the clock.
The visitors pulled goalie Cyler Pickering for an extra attacker in the final minute and had a couple of good chances to tie it.
Colton Henderson, Griffin McGregor and defencemen George Payne and Grayson Boreham scored the Rock goals. Centre Nate Schiedel contributed two assists, while Boreham, Evan Ballantyne, Hayden Brintnell and Trevor Richardson also drew assists.
The pivotal third game is this Saturday in Erin-Hillsburgh at 2:30 p.m. Game 4 is Sunday at the PRC, starting at 5:15 p.m.
St. Marys 6 – Erin-Hillsburgh 2
In the series opener Saturday afternoon at the PRC, a relentless forechecking attack helped propel the G&CC Atoms to a 6-2 victory over the Devils.
Forwards Griffin McGregor and Jayden Tipping paced the Rock offence with two goals apiece. The singles went to Oliver McHugh (powerplay) and George Payne. Winger Hayden Brintnell was the playmaker with three assists, while Nate Schiedel helped set up a pair of goals.
St. Marys took the play to Erin-Hillsburgh from the opening face-off, and as a result held a wide territorial edge for most of the game.
McGregor scored the only goal of the first period, and Tipping made it 2-0 early in the middle frame after good pressure in the Devils’ zone.
The teams then traded powerplay goals. After the visitors closed the gap to 2-1 at 7:37, McHugh answered just under three minutes later.
Rock goaltender Julian Walsh, meanwhile, made the timely saves when called upon–especially early in the third. Tipping added his second of the game at 8:09 after a nice pass from McGregor, and Payne put the home side ahead 5-1 at 11:49 when his shot from the point found its way through traffic.
After McGregor connected with a high shot at 13:06, Erin-Hillsburgh completed the scoring 39 seconds later.
Coach Dan Schiedel said a strong forechecking attack was a big key to the win.
“We were able to get on the puck and create turnovers today because of our energy,” Schiedel said. “Their defence is strong, but we put a little pressure on them, and we capitalized on a couple of opportunities.
“But I don’t think the score indicates that it was a 6-2 game today. It was a lot closer than that. It will be a different game tomorrow (Sunday) in Erin-Hillsburgh and we’ll have to be ready to go. They’re a strong skating team and they move the puck well, and we have to put pressure on their defence. I don’t expect them to roll over.”
What will it take to win the series, assistant coach Ken Schiedel was asked.
“The same effort as we got today,” he quickly replied. “We had a pretty good team effort today. We didn’t give them a chance to get going.”