The SMMHA Atom AE, Atom BB, and Peewee BB teams got underway last week in OMHA Finals.
Read on for more information about the series thus far.
Dunny’s Atoms tie provincial final 1-1
Greig fires pair in 4-2 home-ice win Sunday
By Pat Payton
It’s now a best-of-three series.
In Game 2 last Sunday afternoon at the PRC, two third-period goals lifted the Dunny’s Source for Sports A-E Atoms to a 4-2 victory over the Saugeen Shores Storm. The Rock win tied the best-of-five OMHA final at one game apiece.
The pivotal third game is this Saturday in Port Elgin at 1:15 p.m, with Game 4 back at the PRC on Sunday at 1:45 p.m.
St. Marys 4 - Saugeen Shores 2
In Game 2 Sunday, Simon Greig’s second goal of the contest--at 1:21 of the third period--snapped a 2-2 tie and it proved to be the game winner. It came on a 2-on-1 break. The Rock was quick to strike again as Grier Mahoney tacked on an insurance marker just seven seconds later.
Sean Porter’s squad got off to the fast start they were looking for. Greig scored in the game’s opening minute and Sam Johnson made it 2-0 midway through the first period.
The Storm wouldn’t go quietly, however, as the visitors scored late in the opening frame and then tied it in the first minute of the second period.
Greig, Johnson, Mahoney, Jonah Lariviere, captain Ty Wheeler and defenceman Connor Hall all finished the game with two points for St. Marys.
The net win went to Isaac Cousineau.
Coach Porter said the momentum gained from the last two periods in the series opener carried over to Game 2 Sunday.
“We know that their goalie (Tyler Little) is going to keep them in this series, so we really made a point of getting in front of him,” he explained. “We know he’s a good goalie, and we have to get traffic in front of him.
“We have to be first on the puck in their end, and keep the play in their end. If we do that, I think we’ll be fine.”
Saugeen Shores 3 - St. Marys 1
In the series opener Saturday in Port Elgin, the Dunny’s Atoms fell behind 2-0 early in the contest and dropped a 3-1 decision to the Storm.
Saugeen Shores scored in the first minute and built their 2-0 advantage by the seven-minute mark of the first period. After a scoreless second period, the home team made it 3-0 with just under six minutes left in the third.
With goalie Trevor Aarts on the bench for a sixth attacker, Connor Wheeler scored for the Rock in the final minute of the game.
Emmett Jackson had a goal and two assists for the Storm.
The St. Marys coaches report that Saugeen Shores has a strong goaltender as the Dunny’s squad out-shot the Storm two to one in Game 1.
“We dictated the play in the second and third periods,” coach Porter said. “We hadn’t beat that goalie before, and our goal was to get one past him.”
G&CC Atoms looking to extend series at home
St. Marys down 2-0 after first two games on weekend
By Pat Payton
MIDLAND - It’s now one game at a time for the Golf and Country Club ‘BB’ Atoms.
Two close losses to the Midland Centennials this past weekend leaves the Rock facing elimination in their best-of-five OMHA final series. One advantage for St. Marys is that two of the next three games are on home ice.
Game 3 is this Saturday at the PRC, again at 1:45 p.m. If necessary, Game 4 is Sunday back in Midland at 2 p.m.
The G&CC Atoms must get off to quicker starts, veteran coach Ken Schiedel told the Independent.
“We’ve had slow starts the last three games,” Schiedel noted. “Midland has taken it to us from the drop of the puck, so we have to be ready to match that.
“We know what they’re going to do and they’re going to come hard. They’re probably the fastest team we’ve faced and they’re pretty balanced.”
Midland 3 - St. Marys 2
Here last Sunday afternoon, a goal with just 1:58 remaining snapped a 2-2 tie and lifted Centennials to a 3-2 victory.
Midland stunned the G&CC Atoms with two early goals in Game 2. The home team scored 41 seconds into the contest, and again before the two-minute mark of the first period.
The Rock narrowed the margin to 2-1 midway through the period when Nate Schiedel connected from Evan Ballantyne. Winger Hayden Brintnell then tied it early in the middle frame, with Griffin McGregor assisting.
The score stayed deadlocked until the Centennials’ Curtis Warren scored the winner late in the third.
Midland 3 - St. Marys 1
After the series opener Saturday afternoon at the PRC, both head coaches agreed that the series would likely be decided by breaks.
The provincial final features two evenly-matched and well-coached teams. Both are good skating and puck-moving squads, and the winner will likely be the team that simply wants it more and/or gets more favourable bounces of the puck.
“I think it’s going to be a very close series,” Midland coach Jim McLaren said after Centennials skated to a hard-fought 3-1 victory in front of a big crowd. “That being said, I don’t think we played our best hockey today and we hope to show that tomorrow (Sunday) in Midland.
“Bounces and ugly goals will likely determine this one,” he added with a laugh.
Coach Dan Schiedel echoed the same sentiments down the hallway.
“I think it’s going to come down to chances and who makes the most of their opportunities,” he said. “It’s going to be the team that makes the most number of plays and capitalizes on them.”
Both goalies, the Rock’s Cyler Pickering and Midland’s Mason Downs, played well in Game 1.
The teams came out tentatively, neither wanting to mistake in a tight-checking and cautiously-played first period.
Drew Robson gave Centennials a 1-0 lead at 5:19 of the opening frame when his knuckleball of a shot found the top corner of the net.
St. Marys winger Hayden Brintnell tied it on a powerplay at 1:16 of the second period. Colton Henderson took the initial shot, and Brintnell flipped home the rebound after Downs had juggled the puck.
With the momentum, the Rock pushed for the go-ahead goal and Downs made a huge goal-mouth pad save on Callum McIntosh shortly after.
Owen Fuller regained the lead for Midland at the 6:09 mark after a turnover in the Rock zone. Pickering shone late in the middle frame, making three huge stops--including back-to-back saves from point-blank range--to keep his team within striking distance.
The G&CC squad tried to generate scoring chances in the third, but found it tough penetrating a solid Midland defence as Centennials seemed to be content protecting their one-goal lead.
With 1:32 remaining, coach Schiedel pulled his goalie for a sixth attacker and Midland’s Cole Warren scored into an empty St. Marys net with 42 seconds left on the clock.
“I thought our guys battled hard today,” Schiedel said. “We got off to a little slower start than we wanted to. Maybe it was nerves today and getting a little feel for Midland.
“We had a couple of good chances to tie it up late in the third, and their goalie made some nice saves. He’s solid in net and we’re going to have to find a way to get a couple more past him.”
Good transition game
Schiedel said he learned a couple of things from the Midland team.
“Midland transitions well,” he noted. “When the puck is turned over in the neutral zone, they head the other way pretty quickly. We just have to be ready for that.
“They have four pretlty good defencemen who move the puck well and they’re also deep down the middle.”
Schiedel added that his team has to play a “simple” game.
“We have to get pucks deep,” he said. “We tried to carry the puck in a couple of times, and we were getting checked at the blue line. We just have to make the game a little simpler and go from there.”
The G&CC Atoms have played well on the road this season, and the St. Marys coach was confident looking ahead to Game 2 Sunday in Midland. “I don’t expect anything different tomorrow, and I know our guys will be ready to go,” Schiedel said.
--Niko Taylor, a Grade 5 student at Little Falls school, sang the national anthem prior to Saturday’s series opener at the PRC.
--Midland has five players back from last year’s team that defeated St. Marys in five games in the OMHA final.
--The two teams met in the final of the Huntsville Otters’ tournament in November, and Centennials won 3-1.
Firefighter Peewees lose first two in Napanee
Series returns to St. Marys this weekend
By Pat Payton
NAPANEE - It appears the Firefighter ‘BB’ Peewees are facing an uphill battle in their provincial final.
Here Sunday afternoon, Dwain Smith’s squad dropped a 7-2 decision to the home-town Stars and now trail the best-of-five OMHA ‘BB’ championship series 2-0.
It’s the first time this season that the Peewee Rock has lost back-to-back games.
The next two games in the final are in St. Marys this coming weekend. Game 3 is Saturday at the PRC’s Blue Rink, starting at 6:45 p.m. If necessary, Game 4 is Sunday on the Rock Rink at 12 noon. Coach Smith is hoping the home-ice advantage will help swing the momentum back to his Firefighters.
In Game 2 last Sunday, Napanee’s two big snipers sparked the Stars’ attack with hat tricks. The home team jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, and “we were in a hole right away,” Smith reported.
Captain Jimmy Schiedel and defenceman Rourke McEwan scored the St. Marys goals.
“Napanee has a strong team,” coach Smith said. “For the most part, our guys played well. In the third, I think we out-played them (holding an 8-5 edge in shots). We battled really hard in the third, and I was proud of the boys for not giving up. We did not give up.”
Napanee 4 - St. Marys 2
In the series opener Saturday night in Napanee, the Firefighter Peewees found out that Napanee has two “really good players” who played key roles in the Stars’ 4-2 victory.
“Napanee’s a really good team,” coach Smith reported. “They have two really good players, the best players we’ve seen all season. They cycle the puck and they can pull the trigger. They play every second shift.
“The Collingwood coach emailed me the other day and he warned me about these two, and he was right. He said they are the best 2005s (birthdays) that he’s ever seen. But we can’t change our game for them.”
Smith admitted that his team was a little “flat-footed” in Saturday’s opener.
“When you get flat-footed against a hard-skating team, you start taking penalties. I think we took seven minor penalties, and we’ve gone whole games this year without taking a penalty. We just have to take away their time and space.”
Scoring for St. Marys were defenceman Ethan Brine, with a “beautiful slap shot from the point,” and centre Jimmy Schiedel.
The Rock pulled goaltender Josh Ballantyne for an extra attacker late in the game, but couldn’t pull any closer. Coach Smith said Ballantyne played a strong game.
“He played very solid; he made a lot of stops,” he reported. “He was busy. It’s not too often that we get out-shot, maybe one or two games all season.”
Note: The Napanee Peewees are 20-0-1 in their last 21 games and have not lost a game since late November.