Firefighter Peewees facing Caledonia in next playoff round
By Pat Payton
A third-period comeback Sunday afternoon at the PRC has earned the Golf and Country Club ‘BB’ Atoms a spot in the provincial quarter-finals.
Reg Clinton’s squad erased a 2-0 deficit with three goals in the final 15 minutes to pull a 3-2 victory over Dorchester Dragons. The win gave the Rock the six-point, second-round OMHA playoff series seven points to one.
St. Marys will now meet Erin-Hillsburgh Devils in the provincial quarters.
Rock 3 – Dragons 2
At the PRC Sunday, a desperate Dorchester team took the play to the G&CC Atoms early and Rock goalie Julian Walsh was forced to make a couple of big stops. Finally, a St. Marys turnover proved costly as Dragons opened the scoring at 6:59 of the first period.
The G&CC Atoms began to exert more pressure in the middle frame, but they couldn’t get a puck behind Dorchester goalie Ryder Brown.
It appeared that Dragons were in the driver’s seat when they scored just 10 seconds into the third to go up 2-0. However, a breakaway goal by Evan Ballantyne at the 1:38 mark seemed to turn the momentum in the home team’s favour. The biggest cheer from the St. Marys fans came just over two minutes later when Nathan Wolfkamp connected with a long shot from the point–tying the contest 2-2.
With just under six minutes to play, defenceman Danny Switzer scored what proved to be the winner when his low shot from the blue line found its way through Brown’s legs.
With 2:34 remaining, Dorchester pulled Brown for a sixth attacker. Dragons put on a lot of sustained pressure, but Walsh and his teammates gamely hung on for the win.
“I thought we had a really good second period and that turned the tide,” coach Clinton said afterwards. “We put on lots of pressure and our points (defencemen) were open the whole series and we started using them a bit more and it paid off today.”
Clinton agreed that his team defeated a strong opponent. “Dorchester has that one really strong line that gave us some trouble. They’re a quick-skating, tight-checking team.
“We showed a lot of resiliency in the Dorchester series,” the coach added. “We have a saying and it’s, ‘we don’t get too high and we don’t get too low.’ And the guys are buying into that.”
Clinton fires OT winner
In Game 3 Saturday afternoon in Dorchester, Myles Clinton’s unassisted, shorthanded goal at the eight-minute mark of overtime lifted the G&CC Atoms to a come-from-behind 2-1 victory.
The win gave St. Marys a commanding five points to one lead in the series.
Dorchester opened the scoring at 2:11 of the second period. Danny Switzer forced OT when he tied it with 6:07 remaining in the third. Assists went to Owen Dittmer and Finn Wright.
Clinton’s OT winner came with just two minutes left in the 10-minute extra period and a teammate in the penalty box for slashing. The Rock centreman took advantage of a Dragons’ turnover in their own end of the ice.
Coach Clinton said goaltender Walsh played a key role in the pivotal win.
“Julian made a bunch of big saves, about four in a row,” the coach reported. “During the series of saves, he lost a tooth and (goalie coach) Mitch Watt had to go onto the ice and retrieve it from him,” he added with a laugh.
Firefighters complete comeback
The Firefighter ‘BB’ Peewees, meanwhile, completed their comeback against the rival Dragons last Tuesday (Feb. 5) in Dorchester.
Linemates Ryan Hodkinson and Peyton Lobb both clicked for three points in a 4-2 victory over the Dragons, giving St. Marys the best-of-five, second-round series three games to one. After losing the series opener 3-2 at home, Dwain Smith’s charges rebounded with three straight wins–out-scoring Dorchester 8-3 in the process.
The Peewee Rock will now meet Caledonia in the provincial quarter-finals. The six-point series begins Feb. 13 in Caledonia at 8:15 p.m. Game 2 is Saturday at the PRC at 6:30 p.m., with Game 3 the following day back in Caledonia at 3 o’clock.
Last Tuesday night, Firefighters built period leads of 2-0 and 3-0 on goals by Hodkinson, Lobb and Finn Stewart. Stewart’s goal came midway through the second stanza and would stand up as the game winner. After Dragons closed the gap to 3-1 early in the third, Hodkinson restored a three-goal cushion for St. Marys just over a minute later.
Captain Hodkinson finished the night with two goals and an assist, while Lobb scored once and picked up a pair of assists. Goalie Carter Froggett recorded his third consecutive win in the series for the Firefighters, who played a penalty-free game last Tuesday.
Overall, shots were 27-18 in favour of the Rock.
“We played well, especially in the first and second periods; I was very happy with the boys,” coach Smith reported. “We came out attacking and got up 3-0. Dorchester put on a lot of pressure in the third. They were desperate and they pulled their goalie, too, but we hung on.”
Smith noted that Froggett played another strong game for his team.