By Pat Payton
MT. BRYDGES – A sixth and deciding game was needed here on Tuesday night between the Frayne Custom Cabinets A-E Bantams and the home-town Cougars.
(The result was after this week’s Independent press deadline).
In Game 5 Saturday night at the PRC, Cougars tied the six-point OMHA playoff series at five points apiece with a 4-1 victory.
Ian Boyd gave the Rock a 1-0 lead midway through the first period on a powerplay. Mt. Brydges tied it late in the middle frame, and scored what proved to be the winner early in the third. The last two Cougars’ goals were into an empty St. Marys net in the final minute of play.
“Mt. Brydges controlled most of the play,” coach Dale Switzer told the Independent. “They’re a good team. We thought at the start that it would be a long series and it’s certainly turned out that way.
“We’ve won in Mt. Brydges before and we’ll just have to do it again,” he added. “The guys can do it.”
Due to a school trip, the short-staffed Rock played Saturday’s game with just two lines.
The series winner meets Ingersoll in the next round.
Overtime settles nothing
In Game 4 last Tuesday (Feb. 19) at the PRC, the two teams battled to a 2-2 overtime tie–leaving the Frayne Bantams with a five points to three lead in the series.
Cougars came out skating and grabbed a 1-0 lead at 2:01 of the first period. Rock winger Cam Stapleton tied it at 7:54, with Nathan Switzer and RJ Masse assisting.
Shortly after, St. Marys had a great chance to go in front with a 5-on-3 powerplay. However, they could only muster a few good chances against the hard-checking Mt. Brydges team.
Cougars were the better team early in the middle frame, and were rewarded with the go-ahead goal at 5:39. Owen Boyd tied late in the period, connecting with nice high shot from the slot area. Assists went to Ian Boyd and captain Jake Littlejohn.
With just 25 seconds remaining in the third, Rock centre Jake Pfaff broke in all alone, but Mt. Brydges goalie Jack Adams stood his ground and kept the game tied and his team in the series.
Owen Boyd had the best chance late in the 10-minute overtime when his shot trickled just inches past the open corner.
Goalie Kiefer MacNeil played well for St. Marys.
“We looked nervous tonight; I would say we played tentative,” coach Switzer said afterwards. “We didn’t want the puck sometimes. Mt. Brydges was the same; I thought they were a little off tonight compared to Monday’s game. There were spurts when they played well, and then spurts when our guys played well.
“But we’re up five points to three, and rather have that than the series tied 2-2.”
Cougars the better team
In Game 3 last Monday (Feb. 18) in Mt. Brydges, Cougars stayed alive with a 4-1 victory.
“Mt. Brydges came ready to go,” coach Switzer reported. “They played like they were going to get beat out if they lost. We got the result we deserved the way Mt. Brydges played. They won the game, that’s for sure. Their puck pressure was real good.”
Owen Boyd, on a powerplay, scored the lone Rock goal. The final Mt. Brydges goal was into an empty St. Marys net.