By Pat Payton
CALEDONIA – The Firefighter ‘BB’ Peewees still need one more win after the home-town Thunder staved off elimination with a dramatic, come-from-behind 4-3 victory here Sunday afternoon.
The Caledonia win leaves Firefighters with a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five OMHA quarter-final playoff series.
Game 4 is Wednesday of this week at the PRC, starting at 7:10 p.m. If necessary, Game 5 is Saturday in Caledonia at 2:30 p.m. The series winner meets Niagara-on-the-Lake Wolves, who are waiting.
Late winner Sunday
In Game 3 Sunday in Caledonia, the Thunder scored the winner with just 11 seconds to play–snapping a 3-3 tie.
Brock Chessell gave the Rock a 1-0 first-period lead, from Adam Turner and Colton Henderson, but Caledonia carried a 2-1 advantage into the final 15 minutes.
Firefighters’ Jayden Tipping tied it at 2:11 of the third from defenceman Grayson Boreham. While killing a penalty, “a beauty” by Nate Schiedel put St. Marys ahead 3-2 just under three minutes later.
However, the Thunder tied it at the 6:38 mark, setting the stage for the late winner which came on a two-on-none break. “It was two bad bounces,” Firefighters’ manager Marty Thomson reported.
Goalie Carter Froggett went the distance for the Rock, who out-shot Caledonia 22-12.
Big line powers offence
In Game 2 Saturday night at the PRC, the Firefighter Peewees’ big line powered the offence in a 3-1 win over Caledonia. Finn Stewart, Peyton Lobb and Ryan Hodkinson each scored a goal, and the trio combined for seven scoring points.
Stewart opened the scoring 50 seconds into the contest. After Lobb made it 2-0 at 2:29 of the middle frame, the Thunder pulled to within a goal less than a minute later. Captain Hodkinson added an insurance goal before the end of the period.
Josh Ballantyne got the net win, making 16 saves, as St. Marys out-shot Caledonia 35-17.
Stewart finished the night with a goal and two assists. Lobb and Hodkinson both picked up two points.
Third-period goals lift Rock
In the series opener last Thursday night in Caledonia, a third-period goal by Finn Stewart–with just under seven minutes to play–snapped a 2-2 tie and lifted the Firefighters to a come-from-behind 3-2 victory. Linemates Peyton Lobb and Ryan Hodkinson assisted.
The Rock opened the scoring on a first-period goal by Colton Henderson from Brock Chessell, but the Thunder scored the next two goals to take a 2-1 lead. St. Marys tied it on a powerplay goal by Hodkinson from Chessell and Nate Schiedel early in the third.
Carter Froggett earned the net win. Firefighters had approximately 30 shots, while holding Caledonia to just 13.
“It was a big one; we wanted to get that first win down there,” coach Dwain Smith said. “Overall, I thought we played fairly well. We were attacking the puck, but we’re still not capitalizing on our chances when we get it over their blue line. We need to put more pucks on net, and then look for rebounds.
“Caledonia is a good team and they don’t have a small player. They’re a well-coached team and they pressure the puck well,” he added.