If necessary, Game 5 in series Thursday night in St. Marys
By Pat Payton
Goalie Carter Froggett was scheduled to get the start in Game 4 on Tuesday of this week in Dorchester.
He certainly deserved to get the nod after a solid performance last Thursday night at the PRC. Froggett back-stopped the Firefighter ‘BB’ Peewees to a 2-0 victory over Dorchester Dragons in the pivotal third game of their best-of-five, second-round OMHA playoff series.
“Froggie played amazing,” Rock head coach Dwain Smith said. “He probably made five ‘wow’ saves tonight . . . he’s playing well.”
The win gave Firefighters a 2-1 series lead and an opportunity to advance to the provincial quarter-finals with a victory on Tuesday (Feb. 5) in Dorchester. If Dragons were able to extend the series, Game 5 is this Thursday (Feb. 7) in St. Marys at 8 p.m.
Early goals 41 seconds apart
In Game 3 last Thursday, Firefighters put the Dragons in a hole early–scoring two goals before the five-minute mark of the first period.
Captain Ryan Hodkinson fired what proved to be the winner at the 3:45 mark after picking off an errant pass in the Dorchester zone. Just 41 seconds later, the Rock struck again. Defenceman Lucan Vernooy sent affiliate player Hayden Brintnell into the clear and he went top shelf to put St. Marys up by two goals.
Dragons made a push to get back in the contest late in the middle frame, but couldn’t get a puck behind Froggett. Arguably his best stop came with just under six minutes to play in the third.
Late in the game, Firefighters’ strong forechecking kept the visitors pinned in their own zone for a long stretch. It finally resulted in Dorchester taking a boarding penalty with 57 seconds remaining.
Overall, the Rock out-shot the Dragons 27-17.
“I think the main thing tonight was intensity,” coach Smith said. “We came out and played well in the first period. We attacked the puck and took away their time and space.
“But halfway through the second, our intensity went down. We were trying to carry it out of our zone and it doesn’t work.”
The hardest game to win sometimes is when the other team has its back against the wall. Smith was expecting a tough battle in Game 4 in Dorchester this week.
“We just have to play our game, that’s all we have to worry about,” he said following Game 3 last Thursday. “Dump it in and go and attack the puck . . . go and create scoring chances.
“I’d love to get out of this series next Tuesday; Dorchester is a good team.”
Winner on a powerplay
In Game 2 last Tuesday night in Dorchester, the Firefighter Peewees reduced the series to a best-of-three with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Dragons.
“We snuck one out,” coach Smith reported. “Froggie (Carter Froggett) saved our bacon a couple of times. He had a stellar game. It looked pretty bleak for us in the second period.”
Julian Stubgen’s unassisted goal gave Dorchester a 1-0 lead midway through the first period. It stayed that way until Ryan Hodkinson tied it from linemate Peyton Lobb at 2:40 of the third. Nate Schiedel fired the winner on a powerplay with 7:03 left on the clock. Assists went to Lobb and Finn Stewart.
“It was a sweet powerplay goal,” Smith noted. “Nate was on the point and he took a cross-ice pass. He didn’t hesitate and threw it into the net. It was a nice goal . . . the highlight of the game.”
The Rock finished the game with just 18 shots. “Usually, we have 25 to 35 shots a game,” Smith pointed out. “That’s two games in a row where they’ve held us to 18 shots. We need more shots.”
On a positive note, Firefighters’ penalty-killing was strong, the coach said.