By Pat Payton
It went the limit, but the Dunny’s Source for Sports A-E Atoms captured the Shamrock League’s ‘B’ championship last Wednesday night.
Matt King’s squad erased an early 1-0 deficit and went on to defeat St. Thomas Jr. Stars 5-1 in the fifth and deciding game of their SHL final series. Three unanswered second-period goals put the Rock ahead to stay.
Andre Mollett and Reid Taylor both scored twice for St. Marys, with Donovan McGregor adding the single. Grier Mahoney contributed two assists.
“The boys played a complete game,” Dunny’s assistant coach Dan Murrell reported. “After giving up a goal 13 seconds in, we replied with our own 25 seconds later. For the first two periods, we established a lot of control in their end. St. Thomas had a couple chances in the second, but Isaac Cousineau shut the door.
“Taking a three-goal lead into the third, the message was to keep the pedal down, which the boys did. We had the puck most of the third and our forecheck really limited their ability to break out of their own end cleanly.”
Murrell said an important lesson was learned by their young hockey players.
“In a series, it’s important to move on from the previous game, win or lose,” he explained. “It’s very easy to get caught up in the score of the previous game, but if you do that it could result in some complacency which crept into the minds of some of our players.
“Never underestimate an opponent — you cannot measure desire and resiliency. If you are a more talented team, which in our mind we were, you need to show desire, resiliency and desperation. It was nice to see that in our players in our wins.
“I have always thought if you can get all your players in the mindset they are “down” in a series, you will have more players be more desperate to win. Tough to do, but your team will have a lot of success if they have the mindset that a game is a must win,” he said.
The previous night, the Dunny’s Atoms went into St. Thomas holding a four points to two lead on the Stars in the six-point final. However, Stars forced the deciding game with 5-2 victory. Cody King and Grier Mahoney scored for St. Marys.
The Atom Rock won the series opener 3-0. The goal-scorers were Grier Mahoney, Cody King and Donovan McGregor, and Isaac Cousineau earned the shutout.
“We had a solid game for the most part, but let St. Thomas dictate the play in the second period,” Dan Murrell reported. “We led 1-0 going into the third and we took control back. We played with some desperation.”
The Dunny’s squad lost Game 2 by a 3-2 margin. Nich Brintnell and Reid Taylor scored for St. Marys.
“We started out well, taking a 2-0 lead halfway through the game,” Murrell noted. “We were playing okay, but not great. We then quit skating and St. Thomas took it to us for the rest of the game.
“There were too many passengers for the second half of the game. They scored late in the second, early in the third, and late in the game to tie the series. This was our eighth game against them this year, and we hadn’t lost yet. Odds are you will eventually lose. We didn’t have our best effort, but our boys have been resilient all year and we knew we would have a good effort in Game 3.”
Dominate Stars in Game 3
In the third game on Mar. 25 at the PRC, the Dunny’s crew played one of their “most complete games” of the season–dominating the Stars in a 5-0 win.
“We out-played them in every facet of the game,” Dan Murrell said. “We didn’t give up a scoring chance until the last minute. We had everyone going.”
Grier Mahoney had two goals and an assist, and Donovan McGregor one goal and two assists to pace the offence for St. Marys, which jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead. Andre Mollett and Kaleb Dingman scored the other Rock goals.
Sharing the shutout were Isaac Cousineau and Parker Levy.
HBC Peewees win final in four
The Home Building Centre A-E Peewees recently got hot in the Shamrock League playoffs and also won the SHL ‘B’ title.
Sean Porter’s team won seven of eight games, including six in a row in one stretch. The Rock defeated Mooretown, Wallaceburg and South Huron in the final.
In the six-point final against South Huron, the HBC squad took the series three games to one and out-scored the Sabres 11-6 in the four games.
St. Marys wrapped up the series with a 4-3 victory in Exeter on Mar. 23. Carson Brock had a goal and an assist for the visitors, while the other singles went to Ethan Connolly, Jonah Lariviere and Braeden Roth. Trevor Aarts earned the net win.
The HBC crew had a chance for a series sweep in Game 3 on home ice, but South Huron stayed alive with a 2-1 victory. Ethan Connolly scored the lone Rock goal.
Fifield fires OT winner
In Game 2 in Exeter, Jaxon Fifield’s overtime goal lifted the HBC Peewees to a 2-1 win and a 2-0 series lead. The game was scoreless after two periods, and then the teams traded third-period tallies. Oliver McHugh scored for St. Marys, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead.
In the series opener at the PRC, Colton Hawkins clicked for a goal and an assist in a 4-0 HBC victory. The other singles came off the sticks of Braeden Roth, Oliver McHugh and Carson Brock, with Callum McIntosh chipping in two assists.