The Major Peewees headed to Brantford on Saturday evening to take on the 99er’s in hopes of rebounding from their last 2 league games. The Sting entered this game missing 2 regular forwards and opted to move up two defensemen and play with just four in the back.
Things started off quick for the Sting as they were able to score in the opening shift of the game. Lucas Knowles took a quick shot from what appeared to be an impossible angle that hit off the goalie’s leg into the net. Joey Ferrera and Curtis Marks assisted on the play. A quick goal like that would make you believe that this had the makings of a high scoring affair. However, as the game progressed this was clearly not the case. In fact both teams effectively thwarted any real offensive threats. Most of the game was played in the neutral zone or along the boards.
In the end, the game resulted in a 1-1 draw as the 99’rs scored on a 2 man advantage. Perhaps not the result the team was hoping for, however, considering we had boys playing in unfamiliar positions and only 4 defensemen, the tie in retrospect is not bad at all. The Player of the Game was Jakob Knowles who made key saves and backstopped the team to the 1 point split.
On Sunday the team headed to London to renew the rivalry with the Jr Knights at Medway Arena. Both sides new this was to be a spirited affair in this show down for second place in the West. Neither side however was expecting goaler Josh Bayne to have the first hit of the game. While out to play the puck Josh, with an ever so subtle hip, sent the oncoming fore-checker sliding into the corner. The excitement was short-lived however as the Sting soon found themselves 2 men down. The Lambton PK units were successful in killing off the majority of the 2 man disadvantage until a tipped point shot found its mark giving the Knights a 1 – 0 lead. On another PK, this time of the 4 minute variety, the Sting won an offensive zone draw that resulted in a narrowly missing point shot. The Knights were able to regroup and went on the offensive. A goal mouth scramble in front the Lambton net resulted in another power play tally for London. Late in the period the Knights were finally called for an infraction of their own. The Sting power play resulted in several quality opportunities both from the cycle game and shots from the point. The London goaler was however up to the task and snuffed out all opportunities.
The second period saw the return, albeit briefly, of 5 on 5 hockey. The intensity levels were noticeably high as the rivals renewed acquaintances. Captain Joey Ferrera amped up the visiting team with a very solid check to the London defender deep in the offensive zone while on the fore check. The Jr Knights answered this bell ringer the best way they could and soon netted another goal to take a commanding 3 – 0 lead half way through the 2nd. Again with a late period flurry of quality chances, the Sting desperately tried to score but the London goaler again held his ground as the period ended with the Knights up 3 – 0.
A give-a-way deep in the Sting zone resulted in another goal for London early in the 3rd as a screened Josh Bayne had no chance on the top shelf shot. After this goal, fortunes started to turn as Lambton’s leading goal scorer Nic Direzze notched another as he was sent speeding up the off wing by Curtis Marks. Nic snapped a low jhard shot between the London goaler’s wickets. Less than a minute afterwards, D-man Alec Trusler worked a give and go with Joey Ferrera off the half boards and then another with Josh Vale out of the corner before sniping a low hard shot just inside the blocker post to pull the Sting within 2. The energized Lambton squad continued to press keeping the Knights back on their heels looking for their third of the night. Tristan Haagsma was up to the task as he blasted a point shot off of a Josh Vale offensive zone faceoff win off a London defender and into the net. 4 – 3 !!! The ensuing faceoff had the Knights jump in on a 2 on 1 that was calmly snuffed out by Alec Trusler who then sent the offense back into the London zone where Lucas Knowles was absolutely ROBBED by the London keeper’s trapper on what the entire building was the game equalizer. In search of the elusive equaling goal, the Lambton squad pulled the goalie with just over 2 minutes to play with the puck deep in the London zone. The late game heroics were not in the cards for the Sting on this night as an empty netter sealed the victory of the London Jr Knights with the final score of 5 – 3. The POG for his solid contributions in all zones went to Alec Trusler.
Coaches weekend wrap-up comments:
“The boys deserved a better outcome this weekend and need to be proud of their “no quit attitude” and their ability to control their emotions through a tough game in London, plagued with questionable penalty calls against our team. We will continue to work hard in practice and dryland and the end results will turn around again in our favour. We look forward to the rematch vs London on Friday November 23rd as the “Race for First Place” continues …”