By Pat Payton
STRATHROY – The ANAF ‘BB’ Bantams kicked off a six-point OMHA series here last Thursday night with a 2-1 victory over the Jr. Rockets.
Owen Boyd gave the Rock a 1-0 lead in the second period, from captain Ethan Brine and Peyton Lobb. Lucan Vernooy put the visitors up 2-0 midway through the third, with RJ Martin and Ian Boyd drawing assists.
The Jr. Rockets scored with 64 seconds remaining, but that’s as close as the home team would get.
“For the most part, we bottled them up,” ANAF coach Dale Switzer said. “We played them twice in (Shamrock) league play, and didn’t have a good game either time. But in the series opener, our puck pressure was a lot better. They have two guys who kind of drive their offence, and we were getting on them right away and frustrating them a little bit.”
The net win went to Kiefer MacNeil.
Game 2 in the series was Monday, Jan. 13 in St. Marys.
Marziali fires winner
The Golf and Country Club ‘BB’ Atoms also claimed their OMHA series opener last Thursday in Mt. Brydges. Dan Murrell’s squad earned a 2-1 victory over the Cougars in the six-point series.
Dom Marziali’s goal, with about seven minutes remaining, snapped a 1-1 tie and it stood up as the game winner. Ben Ewing also scored for St. Marys. Nolan Stewart picked up the win in net.
“We battled hard,” coach Murrell reported. “We blocked a ton of shots, too. The smaller rink there benefits us well. They can’t free-wheel as well as they can in our rink.”
Game 2 is Wednesday, Jan. 15 in St. Marys at 6 p.m.
Firefighters start with tie
The Firefighter ‘BB’ Peewees kicked off their OMHA playoffs with a 1-1 tie against the Dorchester Dragons last Wednesday, Jan. 8 at the PRC.
Colton Henderson scored the St. Marys goal on a powerplay. Ten minutes of overtime settled nothing, giving each team a point in the six-point series.
Goalie Julian Walsh played “great” for the Rock. Dragons held a 22-19 edge in shots.
Game 2 in the series was Tuesday, Jan. 14 in Dorchester. Game 3 is Monday, Jan. 20 in St. Marys at 7:10 p.m.
Play changes momentum
The Cement ‘BB’ Midgets started a six-point OMHA playoff series in Dorchester last Thursday night.
With the score 2-1 for St. Marys midway through the third period, Rock goalie Jake Bryans was “run over” by a Dorchester player, but the officials allowed the Dragons’ tying goal to count. Bryans was also injured on the play and forced to leave the game.
“Jake was interfered with, and I don’t think the (tying) goal should have counted,” coach Brent Rae said. “It was definitely a turning point.”
The home team scored the winner with about three and a half minutes remaining, and then added an empty-netter to seal a 4-2 victory.
“I thought we played really well,” Rae added. “We out-played them and deserved to win.”
Owen McIntosh scored the first St. Marys goal on a powerplay, with George Hensel and Sam Bolton picking up assists. Ethan Froggett, unassisted, scored the other goal for the visitors.
Even series 1-1 Sunday
Game 2 was Sunday night at the PRC, and the Cement Midgets reduced the series to a best-of-three with a physical 3-2 victory over the Dragons.
Winger Keegan Nethercott scored twice for St. Marys, including one on a powerplay. Defenceman Scott McClelland fired what proved to be the winner in the final minute of the second period, putting the Cement men up 3-1.
With the teams playing four aside, Dorchester pulled to within a goal early in the third. However, that’s as close as the visitors would get as Rock goalie Aaron Waugh made the big saves when called upon.
Playing strong games on the blue line for St. Marys were McClelland, George Hensel and Sam Bolton.
Game 3 was in Dorchester on Tuesday, Jan. 14. Game 4 is Thursday, Jan. 23 in St. Marys at 9:15 p.m.