A good night for St. Marys Peewee
and HBC squad both post exciting victories in Shamrock playoff action
By Pat Payton
It was a good night for St. Marys minor hockey’s Peewee teams in Shamrock League playoff action Wednesday night at the PRC.
The Firefighter ‘BB’ Peewees clinched a berth in the SHL final with a hard-fought 4-2 victory over the rival Strathroy Jr. Rockets. On the other ice pad, the Home Building Centre A-E Peewees defeated the Lambeth Lancers 2-1 in overtime to take a 2-1 series lead in their league semi-final series.
Two for Evan Ballantyne
After three consecutive ties in their semi-final round-robin series with Strathroy and Mt. Brydges Cougars, Dwain Smith’s Firefighters earned their first win Wednesday--giving them five points. The Jr. Rockets have three points and the Cougars two points. Those teams meet Sunday in Strathroy, and the winner will advance to the final against St. Marys.
In Wednesday’s fast-paced game, the Rockets opened the scoring in the first period. Jayden Tipping tied it 46 seconds into the middle frame when he ripped a shot over the Strathroy goalie’s shoulder. Just over three minutes later, Evan Ballantyne was rewarded for driving hard to the net and put the Rock up 2-1.
After the Jr. Rockets tied it 2-2 at 4:28 of the third, winger Oliver McHugh fired what proved to be the winner at the 6:54 mark. After stealing the puck, McHugh fired a high shot past the Strathroy netminder--putting the home team ahead to stay.
With 1:32 left on the clock, Ballantyne sealed it for St. Marys with a powerplay goal. Assists went to Hayden Brintnell and captain Adam Turner. With 1:08 remaining, the visitors pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker. The Rock then took a penalty with 50 seconds left, giving the Jr. Rockets a 6-on-4 man advantage. However, Firefighters did a good job of clearing their zone and running down the clock.
Overall, Strathroy had a 25-13 advantage in shots on net, and goalie Julian Walsh turned in a solid game for the Rock. Teammate Connor Hall had a strong game on the blue line.
“The boys were prepared for the game; we went hard right from the opening face-off,” coach Smith told the Independent. “Strathroy is a fast team and we took away their time and space tonight.
“Sometimes you need your goalie to steal a game for you, and Julian stole that one tonight. He stood on his head.”
Dingman gets OT winner
In the Peewee game that followed, Reg Clinton’s HBC squad pulled out the pivotal third-game victory in overtime over a big, physical team from Lambeth.
Kaleb Dingman emerged the hero for the Rock, scoring the game winner 51 seconds into a 10-minute OT period. Prior to the goal, Lancers had taken a penalty with 1:44 remaining in the third, and St. Marys had exerted strong pressure. It carried over into extra time.
Isaac Cousineau recorded his second straight win in the series. “I would say he stole that game for us,” coach Clinton said.
After Myles Clinton opened the scoring for the HBC crew early in the second period, Lambeth tied it 1-1 with 1:43 remaining in the frame.
Lancers opened the best-of-five series with a 5-4 home-ice victory Feb. 29.
Forward Finn Wright paced the Rock offence with three goals, with captain Nathan Wolfkamp adding the single. Grier Mahoney and Myles Clinton both contributed two assists, and Trevor Aarts went the distance in net.
In Game 2 on Monday, March 2 at the PRC, the HBC Peewees skated to a 5-1 victory.
Scoring for the Rock were Connor Wheeler, Sam Johnson, Nathan Wolfkamp, Finn Wright and Andre Mollet. Simon Greig and Kaleb Dingman both chipped in two assists, and Cousineau again played well in the St. Marys net.
Game 4 is Saturday in Lambeth at 6 p.m. If necessary, the fifth and deciding game is slated for Sunday at the PRC at 1:30 p.m.