Hubbard Midgets and A.B.S. Bantams now involved in OWHA playoffs
By Pat Payton
BRAMPTON – Two St. Marys minor hockey girls teams won their division at the recent Brampton Cougars’ 24th annual Friendship Festival, here Jan. 31-Feb. 2.
Bill McPhail’s Hubbard Pharmacy Midget ‘B’ squad went 2-1 in round-robin action, losing their lone game 2-0 to the Haldimand River Cats (from the Cayuga area) on the Saturday night.
The Hubbard squad met the River Cats again in Sunday’s final, and this time skated to a 3-1 victory. Emma Bentley scored two goals for St. Marys, while Emily Shrubsole clinched the win and the tournament with a late empty-netter.
Don Scott’s ABS Tracs Bantam girls also won their ‘C’ division, undefeated, at the Brampton Friendship tourney. They defeated Mitchell 2-0 in the final.
OWHA playoffs start
In OWHA playoff action last Wednesday night at the PRC, the Hubbard Midgets started a best-of-three series with St. Thomas Panthers. The series features two evenly-matched teams, who both skate and move the puck well.
After two scoreless periods, with scoring chances at both ends, St. Thomas fired the winner with just 1:21 left in the third. It appeared to be a deflected shot that got past goalie Matt Luyten. The Rock pulled Luyten for an extra attacker with 40 seconds remaining, but couldn’t get the equalizer.
“St. Thomas got the bounce at the end,” coach McPhail said with a shrug. “We worked hard and didn’t get the result we wanted, but that happens. I think if we keep that effort up, we’ll be fine.
“We just have to keep playing hard, and take away their time and space and get shots to the net. We have to generate more scoring opportunities. We had a couple of good chances tonight, but didn’t bury them. St. Thomas is a good team and they took away our time and space, too.”
Luyten had a strong game for St. Marys, making several big stops.
“We have to score early and get our momentum and our legs going,” McPhail added, looking ahead to Game 2 this past Monday in St. Thomas. “Our game is speed, and scoring on our opportunities.”
If a third and deciding game is necessary, it will be played Thursday, Feb. 13 in St. Marys at 9:15 p.m.
Bantams in round-robin series
The A.B.S. Bantams, meanwhile, are playing in a three-team ‘C’ round-robin series against the Tillsonburg Lightning and Huron Heat. They entertained Tillsonburg on Monday, Feb. 10, then play three straight road games.
Scott will take his Bantams to the Provincials in Toronto the first week of April, where they will compete at the ‘B’ level. “We got an automatic berth because there is no (‘B’) team in our region to play,” the coach noted.