Three third-period goals key 4-2 victory Sunday in NOTL
By Pat Payton
NOTL – Three third-period goals lifted the Firefighter ‘BB’ Peewees to a come-from-behind 4-2 victory over the Niagara-on-the-Lake Wolves here Sunday afternoon.
The win gave the Rock a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five OMHA semi-final series.
Trailing 2-1 going into the final 15 minutes, goals by Finn Stewart (powerplay) and Peyton Lobb put St. Marys in the lead. Lobb’s goal came with 4:22 to play and snapped a 2-2 tie. Colton Henderson then clinched it with the fourth goal for the visitors, with just 51 seconds remaining. Captain Ryan Hodkinson scored the other goal for the Firefighters.
“Bally (goalie Josh Ballantyne) played pretty well,” coach Dwain Smith reported. “We went right back with him as a confidence-builder. Defensively, we played a pretty decent game today as we limited them to just 10 shots.
“But I’ll be honest, we had a slow first and second periods.”
Overall, shots were 27-10 in favour of St. Marys.
Smith noted that affiliate skater Hayden Brintnell had a strong game for the Firefighters. “Hayden played extremely well, attacking in both zones. He also had a couple of scoring chances, and drew a penalty. He hustled really well today.”
Game 2 is Wednesday of this week at the PRC at 7:10 p.m. Game 3 is Saturday in NOTL at 11:40 a.m. If necessary, Game 4 is Sunday in St. Marys at 6 p.m.
Firefighters quiet the Thunder in quarters
The Firefighter Peewees finished off Caledonia last Wednesday in Game 4, defeating the Thunder 4-2 at the PRC. The win gave St. Marys the best-of-five provincial quarter-final series three games to one.
A pair of third-period goals by the Rock proved to be the difference last Wednesday.
Peyton Lobb gave Firefighters a 1-0 lead with a goal in the opening minute of the contest. Centre Ryan Hodkinson assisted. Caledonia tied it on a powerplay in the final minute of the first period, and grabbed a 2-1 advantage midway through the second. It stayed that way until Brock Chessell scored with just two seconds left in the period, from Hodkinson and Hayden Brintnell.
Defenceman Lucan Vernooy fired what proved to be the winner, unassisted, at 4:59 of the third. Hard-working Nate Schiedel added a big insurance tally into an empty Thunder net with 61 seconds left on the clock. Hodkinson, with his third point of the contest, and Jayden Tipping drew assists.
“I thought the boys played really well; we attacked and we were aggressive on the puck,” coach Smith said. “ We were a smaller team than them, but we took away their time and space. When the puck got dumped into their end, our forwards were just attacking.”
Overall, St. Marys out-shot Caledonia 27-13. “When we get over 25 shots, we have good results,” he noted.
In three OMHA playoff series to date, the Firefighter Peewees have nine wins and three losses–losing just one game in each series.
In the north-east semi-finals, South Muskoka Bears and Lindsay Muskies are squaring off in a best-of-five series.
G&CC Atoms bow out in four
After scoring seven goals in the first two games, the offence dried up for the Golf and Country Club ‘BB’ Atoms in the last two games of their OMHA quarter-final playoff series against Erin-Hillsburgh Devils.
At the PRC Saturday afternoon, Devils blanked the Rock 3-0 to win the best-of-five series 3-1.
The visitors scored what proved to be the winner with just 54 seconds remaining in the first period. St. Marys dominated the middle frame, applying sustained pressure the entire period. However, Erin-Hillsburgh scored the only goal–on a two-on-none break with .7 seconds left in the frame.
In the third, a desperate G&CC squad fought hard to get back in it, but had a tough time generating quality scoring chances. The Devils’ goalie made a big pad save midway through the period to keep it 2-0.
With 1:38 remaining, Reg Clinton pulled goalie Julian Walsh for a sixth attacker. Erin-Hillsburgh, however, clinched the win and the series with an empty-netter with 48 seconds left on the clock.
“They played a pretty good defensive game, especially the last two games,” coach Clinton said. “The first two games we got seven goals, but we didn’t get a lot of puck luck around their net or good looks the last two. But you have to generate your own puck luck, too. Their goalie didn’t give up many rebounds, either.
“Today, we didn’t get the goal to give us the zap and the legs that we needed. Our best shots missed the net. I also thought Julian and our defence played well.”
In Game 3 last Thursday night in Erin, the Devils took a 2-1 series lead with a 4-0 victory.
Erin-Hillsburgh scored the winner in the first period, and tacked on three more insurance markers in the middle frame.