Clinton propels HBC Peewees’ comeback against Cougars
Firefighters regain series lead with late rally in Dorchester
By Pat Payton
The Home Building Centre A-E Peewees fought back from an early 2-0 deficit to earn a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the Cougars in Mt. Brydges Tuesday night.
The win gives Reg Clinton’s squad a 2-0 record in their OMHA round-robin playoff series with Petrolia, Mt. Brydges and Strathroy. “We scratched and clawed out a victory,” coach Clinton told the Independent following Tuesday’s game in Mt. Brydges.
Cougars held a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period, but the Rock pulled even with two goals by Myles Clinton in the middle frame. Clinton then completed his hat trick with a third-period goal, which stood up as the game winner.
“We played very well defensively in the third,” coach Clinton noted. Trevor Aarts went the distance in net.
Clinton says his HBC Peewees have a “huge game” against Strathroy on Monday, Jan. 27, starting at 7:10 p.m.
Firefighters regain series lead
In Dorchester Tuesday night, the Firefighter ‘BB’ Peewees regained the series lead against rival Dorchester, nipping the Dragons 4-3 with a late rally.
Firefighters now lead the six-point OMHA series five points to three. They can wrap up the series on home ice Thursday at 8 p.m.
In Tuesday’s road game, St. Marys trailed 3-1 in the third period, but scored three times in the final eight minutes to pull out the pivotal victory. Colton Hawkins’ second goal of the night, with 3:40 remaining, snapped a 3-3 tie and was the game winner. Oliver McHugh and defenceman Adam Turner scored the other Rock goals.
Cyler Pickering earned the net win as Dragons out-shot the Firefighters. “He made some fantastic saves,” manager Marty Thomson reported.
Peewees lose heartbreaker
In Game 3 Monday night at the PRC, the Firefighter Peewees valiantly fought back to tie the score 3-3, only to lose a heartbreaker 4-3 in the dying seconds of the hard-fought contest.
The Dorchester win tied the six-point series at three points apiece.
The teams came out and set a fast opening pace. Midway through the first period, Oliver McHugh broke down the right side and connected with a good shot to give the Rock a 1-0 lead. Assists went to Evan Ballantyne and defenceman Connor Hall. Late in the period, goalie Julian Walsh stopped a Dragons’ forward on a breakaway to keep his team in front.
Dorchester grabbed the lead with two second-period goals, and then went in front 3-1 with a shorthanded breakaway goal at 5:56 of the third.
With two minutes remaining, Firefighters went on a powerplay and they also pulled their goalie for a 6-on-4 man advantage. It paid off when Hayden Brintnell pulled St. Marys to within a goal, from Jayden Tipping, with 1:40 remaining.
In the final minute, Firefighters again pulled their goaltender for a sixth attacker. With just 30 seconds left in regulation, captain Adam Turner tied the score when he connected with a high shot from the blue line. Tipping again assisted.
However, on the ensuing face-off, Dragons worked the puck into the Rock zone and scored the game winner with just 8.5 seconds left on the clock.
Firefighters had played four tough games at the International Silver Stick tournament in Port Huron on the weekend, and assistant coach Steve Shaw said it may have affected their performance in Game 3.
“The boys were tired; we played a lot of hockey on the weekend,” Shaw said. “But you have to give the boys credit, they didn’t quit. They fought back and tied it up. We needed to keep our foot on the gas for the last 30 seconds.
“Now, we’re back to ground zero at three points apiece. It’s a tied series, and now we have to go to Dorchester tomorrow night and get back to work again.”
A key to beating the Dragons is playing a full 40-minute game, Shaw noted.
“We have to play our game,” he said. “We have to be the hardest-working team on the ice. Dorchester wanted it tonight; they were playing desperate. We didn’t create the turnovers in the neutral zone like we usually do. They have some good goal-scorers. If we give them our zone, they’re a threat. We have to keep our foot on the gas and not let up and start coasting.”
Frayne Bantams start with two ties
The Frayne Custom Cabinets A-E Bantams started their OMHA round-robin playoff series with two ties.
On Monday, Jan. 20 at the PRC, the Bantam Rock skated to a 2-2 draw with Dorchester Dragons. The visitors tied the score with just over a minute remaining to play. “Dorchester took advantage of an opportunity we gave them at the end of the game,” coach Gord Cookson said. “We had the lead for most of the third.”
Jake Grant and Adam Zurbrigg scored for St. Marys.
In Mooretown on Jan. 14, Jake Grant scored twice for the Frayne squad in a 3-3 tie with the Jr. Flags. Captain Lucas McCurdy had the other St. Marys goal.
“We can beat both teams,” coach Cookson told the Independent.
The Frayne Bantams host Mooretown on Thursday, Jan. 30 at 8 p.m. Only one of the three teams advances to the next playoff round.