OMHA Playoffs, News (St. Marys Minor Hockey)

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OMHA Playoffs
Submitted By Rachael Torrance on Wednesday, January 15, 2020
ANAF Bantams in driver’s seat against Jr. Rockets

Legion Midgets take series opener 5-0 on home ice

By Pat Payton


The ANAF ‘BB’ Bantams took a 2-0 stranglehold on their best-of-five OMHA playoff series with rival Strathroy Jr. Rockets with a 5-4 victory Monday night at the PRC.
Dale Switzer’s squad built a 4-1 second-period lead on goals by Peyton Lobb and Owen Boyd and two by defenceman RJ Martin. Martin’s first goal was on a powerplay, and then he put the Rock up by three while killing a penalty. Martin made an end-to-end dash, broke into the clear, and then slipped the puck under the Strathroy goaltender.
Rockets closed the gap to 4-2 before the intermission break, and then pulled to within a goal with just over five minutes remaining in the third. With 2:38 left on the clock, captain Ethan Brine fired what proved to be the winner--giving St. Marys a 5-3 advantage. Affiliate skater Lucas McCurdy assisted.
With 1:28 remaining, Strathroy scored to make it a one-goal game again. The goal came with Rockets on a powerplay, and they had also pulled their goalie for a sixth attacker. The ANAF squad did a good job of stopping the Rockets from organizing an attack in the final minute, and the home team skated off with their second one-goal win of the series.
“Strathroy just keeps coming,” coach Switzer said. “They have one line that’s pretty strong. We did a good job against them the first game, but we let them loose a little bit (in Game 2). It’s a good thing we got the five goals; we needed every one of them.
“We’re in the driver’s seat, but we were also in the driver’s seat last year against Ingersoll and let them off the hook, so we have to be careful.”

More intensity in playoffs
More intensity has been the key against the Rockets in the playoffs to date, Switzer says.
“Strathroy beat us pretty easy in the (Shamrock) regular season. In the series, we’ve been getting the puck out of our end a little better. They hemmed us in a little bit (in Game 2), but it wasn’t sustained pressure. It wasn’t shift after shift.
“If we go north and south with the puck, and not east and west, it makes a big difference against them. I guess we’ll find out next week if we can close them out,” he added.
In addition to Brine’s goal, the defenceman also earned two assists for a three-point night. Ian Boyd also picked up two assists. The net win went to Kiefer MacNeil, who made several big stops.
Game 3 is Tuesday, Jan. 21 in Strathroy at 7:50 p.m. If necessary, Game 4 is Wednesday, Jan. 22 at the PRC at 8:30 p.m.

Legion Midgets take opener 5-0
The Royal Canadian Legion A-E Midgets skated to a 5-0 victory over the visiting Mooretown Jr. Flags in their OMHA series opener Tuesday, Jan. 14.
The Rock led 2-0 after the first period, and then tacked on three insurance goals in the middle frame.
“We played very well,” coach Bob Davis said. “It started with an excellent first period. Our defensive-zone coverage worked well and we moved the puck consistently in the offensive end.
“These are things we have been working on and improving over the last few weeks. We played with intensity from start to finish, which is also an improvement.”
St. Marys goal scorers were Sam Watt, Noah McLeod, Gage Barcley-Rowe, Ben Richardson and Jeremy Stephens.
“The team had a pep-talk from Andrew (Davis) about what OMHA playoffs mean before the game and the boys responded to this,” the coach said. “I think that helped get us get off to a good start. It was a full team effort with excellent team work. We were short several players and the rest simply stepped up their game. It was fun to watch.”
Game 2 in the best-of-five series is Tuesday, Jan. 21 at the PRC at 8:30 p.m.

Greig fires pair in Peewees’ opener
The Home Building Centre A-E Peewees started six-game OMHA round-robin playoff series Monday night with a 5-1 victory over the visiting Petrolia Oilers.
Simon Greig scored a pair of goals to spark the offence, while the singles went to affiliate skater Brier Frayne, Finn Wright and Jonah Lariviere. The net win went to Isaac Cousineau.
Next home game for Reg Clinton’s squad is Monday, Jan. 27 against Strathroy at 7:10 p.m. The fourth team in the home-and-home, round-robin series is Mt. Brydges.

Cement Midgets even series 1-1
After losing the series opener 4-2 in Dorchester, the Cement ‘BB’ Midgets evened their best-of-five OMHA playoff series at one game apiece Sunday, Jan. 12 with a hard-fought and physical 3-2 victory over the Dragons.
The Rock win reduced the series to a best-of-three affair.
Winger Keegan Nethercott scored twice for St. Marys, including one on a powerplay from Sam Bolton and Loghan Hodkinson. 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. Kaleb Schalk assisted.
With the teams playing four aside, Dorchester pulled to within a goal early in the third. Shortly after, St. Marys killed off a 5-on-3 Dragons’ powerplay.
Playing strong games on the blue line for the Cement men were McClelland, George Hensel and Sam Bolton. Goalie Aaron Waugh was also a factor, making the big saves when called upon.
“We had to win tonight, going back there down two games would have been tough,” coach Brent Rae said following the game. “We wanted to put pressure on their defence, getting first guys in there on the forecheck.
“We also wanted to get the puck out of our end and win battles down low in their end. I think we’re the better team; we just have to stay out of the (penalty) box. Our penalty-kill was good; I think we killed seven or eight penalties tonight, including a couple of 5-on-3s. That was huge,” he added.
Game 4 is Thursday, Jan. 23 in St. Marys, starting at 9:15 p.m.


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