Now need to win an OMHA game in series in Dorchester
By Pat Payton
The Firefighter ‘BB’ Peewee are faced with winning a playoff game in Dorchester after losing the series opener 3-2 on home ice last Wednesday night.
Game 2 in the best-of-five, second-round OMHA series was on Tuesday of this week in Dorchester. Game 3 is this Thursday at the PRC at 8 p.m. Game 4 is Tuesday, Feb. 5 in Dorchester at 7:40 p.m.
In last Wednesday’s opener, a big crowd at the PRC was entertained by a good hockey game. Just prior to the game, a Dragons’ assistant coach told the Independent that St. Marys and Dorchester are the best two Peewee teams in the Shamrock League. Both are well-coached teams.
Dragons’ Zach Dos Santos opened the scoring at 3:39 of the first period, and Firefighters’ goalie Josh Ballantyne stopped a breakaway shortly after. Finn Stewart put the Rock back on even terms at 6:42 when he connected from Griffin McGregor and Brock Chessell.
Jayden Tipping gave St. Marys a 2-1 lead at 6:09 of the second period when he finished off a 2-on-1 break with McGregor. Late in the frame, Ballantyne made a big stop to keep his team in front.
Dorchester rallied for the win in the final 15 minutes. The momentum seemed to change when the visitors had a couple of good chances killing a penalty early in the third.
Dragons’ centre Sam Willsie–a dangerous player–then tied the score on a powerplay at the 4:20 mark. The winner came with 5:23 to play when Connor Zavitz converted a rebound.
Coach Dwain Smith pulled Ballantyne for an extra attacker with 1:11 left on the clock. The Rock exerted good pressure and had a late chance, but the puck stayed out.
Overall, Dorchester out-shot St. Marys 23-18.
Not enough shots, pressure
“I thought it was a good hockey game, but we didn’t put any sustained pressure on them,” Smith said following the game. “Our game is to get the puck in deep and put two men on the puck. Dorchester was coming out of their zone with ease, and they had a lot of odd-man rushes. We’re going to have to get back to the basics.
“Dorchester kept pushing in the third and they were beating us to the puck. We’re a team that needs 25 shots, and when we get that many shots we win the hockey game.”
With two practices before Game 2, the coach said his team would be working on a couple of strategies.
“We need more shots and more pressure on the puck,” Smith reiterated. “We’d love to get a win down (in Dorchester) and then come back home. I don’t want to be down two games to these guys because they’re too good of a team.”
For the Peewee Dragons, it was their fourth straight one-goal win in the playoffs.