Team loses twice last week, plays first and third-place teams this week
By Pat Payton
Kyle Curtin gave St. Marys Lincolns a chance to win last Friday night at the PRC.
The young goaltender made 36 saves–many of them difficult–to earn player-of-the-game honours in front of an estimated 500 fans on ‘Rock the Rink’ night.
That was the good news for the Lincs. The bad news was the home team spent too much time playing in its own end of the ice for the final 40 minutes. An early 2-0 lead soon evaporated and Lincolns eventually dropped a 5-2 GOJHL decision to the second-place Chatham Maroons.
For the Lincolns, it was their second loss in a row after back-to-back wins the previous weekend. They finished their October schedule with a modest 4-5 record. After weekend action, Lincs (6-10) sit in eighth place in the Western Conference standings, four points ahead of the last-place Strathroy Rockets (4-11).
Lincolns’ November schedule starts with two more tough games this week. They travel to Leamington Thursday for a 7:10 p.m. face-off with the third-place Flyers, and then host the first-place London Nationals Friday at 7:30 p.m.
“This stretch is definitely a test for our young team right now,” Lincs’ coach Trent McClement says. “But this is what you want, you want to be challenged and see what you have.
“Yes, it’s going to be tough, and win or lose, we have to be mentally stronger. It’s going to make us better going forward.”
Maroons 5 – Lincolns 2
At the PRC Friday night, things started well for Lincolns as Quinton Pepper (his eighth on a powerplay) and Joe Mazur scored first-period goals against former St. Marys goalie Tristan Lewis.
Maroons started taking control of the contest in the second period, and former OHLer Eddie Schulz fired a key goal for the visitors. It came with the teams playing four aside at 13:06, and pulled Chatham to within a goal.
It was all Maroons in the final 20 minutes as the veteran squad fired four unanswered goals to claim the win. Former Lincoln Sean O’Brien and Schulz scored powerplay goals, putting Chatham ahead 3-2 by the seven-minute mark of the third. After Zach Power made it 4-2, Thomas Michaud clinched it with a shorthanded tally with just under five minutes to play.
O’Brien, who played in St. Marys in 2014-15, finished the night with three points.
Following the game, coach McClement said his team’s undisciplined penalties opened the door for Maroons to get back in the contest.
“I think in the heat of the moment, our young kids took a lot of undisciplined penalties tonight,” McClement said. “In one stretch, we took four penalties in a row. The one penalty we took was on the powerplay, where we maybe could have put the game away. But Chatham ended up scoring on the 4-on-4.
“We took penalties at the wrong times tonight. As a young team, we need to know in these high-paced games a veteran team like Chatham is going to do everything they can to get under your skin and get you off your game.
“We have to learn from that. In these games, you have to suck it up and take one for the team. We have to be mentally tougher. Tonight, we played a good 35 minutes, and then we got off our game and didn’t do what we needed to do.”
Overall, Maroons out-shot the Lincs 41-21, including 29-10 over the last two periods.
Following weekend action, Chatham (9-2-0-2) sits three points ahead of Leamington (7-5-1-2)
Vipers 6 – Lincolns 1
In LaSalle last Wednesday night, Lincolns watched a modest two-game winning streak come to an end when they dropped a 6-1 decision to the Vipers in front of about 475 spectators.
LaSalle (6-7-0-1) moved one point ahead of St. Marys with the win.
After a scoreless first period, Vipers broke it open with four unanswered second-period goals. Goal scorers for the home team were Cody Schneider, Aaron Shaw, Spencer Paradis and AJ Ryan.
After Christian Froese scored Lincs’ lone goal at 4:30 of the third, Paradis and Kyle Walker tacked on insurance goals for LaSalle before the 10-minute mark of the period.
Overall, Vipers out-shot the Lincolns 36-23, including 18-6 in the middle frame. Goalie Justin Richer (4-4) went the distance for St. Marys.