Shamrock Playoffs, News (St. Marys Minor Hockey)

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Shamrock Playoffs
Submitted By Rachael Torrance on Monday, February 24, 2020
G&CC Atoms win third game in a row
Eliminate Petrolia Oilers from SHL playoffs Friday  

By Pat Payton

The Golf and Country Club ‘BB’ Atoms won their third consecutive game in the series Friday night at the PRC.

A 4-1 victory over rival Petrolia Oilers gave Dan Murrell’s squad the best-of-five Shamrock League quarter-final series three games to one.

“With Petrolia’s backs to the wall in Game 4, we encouraged the boys to match their anticipated desperation -- the clinching  game is always the toughest one to win,” coach Murrell said. “For the second straight game, we were playing with three defencemen, so we knew we would also be fighting a little fatigue as well. The boys did not disappoint as they played another thorough game.”

After a scoreless first period, Harper Murrell opened the scoring on a nice tip from a Zach Larmer point shot, who had received a great pass from Ben Ewing.

“The kids have started to use the cycle and are learning to not panic with the puck - understanding the benefits of wearing a team down by controlling the puck,” coach Murrell noted. “We generated a ton of offensive chances over this series because we have controlled the puck and the other team has gotten tired - it’s not easy chasing the puck - and breakdowns occur.”

The Rock continued to take it to Petrolia, and in the third a nice passing play resulted in a screened shot by Zack Tubman that found the back of the net. Petrolia did make it a one-goal game with a few minutes left, but St. Marys responded quickly with two quick ones by Ewing and Brody Cox (unassisted) to put the contest out of reach.

“Our boys were pretty excited - it has been a bit of a tough year if using wins and losses as your measuring stick - so they earned that right to celebrate that series win,” Murrell said. “Over the series, we continued to play strong possession hockey and in the end the better team won. The kids deserve all the credit - they earned it.”

Harper Murrell finished the game with three points, while Larmer and Ewing had two apiece.

Nolan Stewart and Parker Levy split the duties in net again.

St. Marys 3 - Petrolia 1

In Game 3 the previous night in Petrolia, the G&CC Atoms took a 2-1 series lead with a 3-1 victory.

“Before the game, the message was to get off to a fast start - continue the effort we had in game 2,” coach Murrell explained. “There is always a worry about having an emotional letdown when winning a big game in overtime like we did the night before. The boys responded and took it to Petrolia for the first five minutes - again their goalie made some big stops early or the game could have been over early.”

Oilers got a lucky bounce to go up 1-0, but the Rock responded quickly with a shift where they controlled the play on the cycle for over a minute and were rewarded when Graeme Froud banged in a rebound to tie the score. 

Petrolia pushed back in the second period, aided by three powerplays, but the St. Marys penalty-killers did not allow much of anything - this gave the visitors some momentum heading into the third.

The Rock controlled the play for the majority of the third and scored the winner after another shift of cycling and controlling the puck. Cody King banged one in from the slot and then less than a minute later, a strong forecheck by Dominic Marziali resulted in a turnover and Brody Cox was able to flip the puck into an open cage.

“We shut them down the rest of the way as Petrolia did not have a shot on net the last half of the third,” coach Murrell noted.

Nolan Stewart and Parker Levy split the net duties.
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