Rested, Recharged and a little Rusty
The opening round of the playoffs had the playing well of late Chatham Kent Cyclones in town to face the Lambton Jr Sting Major Peewee AAA’s who were hoping the long layoff would recharge the batteries and see a return to early season form.
The Cyclones would take the early lead on a shot from the high slot that Lambton goaler wishes he could have back. The Sting almost answered back on their next shot which was tipped twice but unfortunately hit iron and not mesh. The Cyclones would take a 2 – 0 lead over the disorganized Sting while on the power play at the half way mark of the first. The long layoff rust really showed as Chatham went up 3 – 0 with 2 minutes to go in the 1st. At this time, as an attempt to wake the team up a goaltender change was made. This seemed to spark the Lambton boys as a power play tally was notched with Tristan Haagsma passing to Lucas Knowles who fed Dante Fuoco. The period ended on a high note for the Sting but they were still down by a score of 3 – 1.
The Lambton squad would cut the deficit to 1 as Lucas Knowles this time set up Josh Vale on the cross ice pass that Josh deftly deflected home. The tying goal this time had Lucas as the beneficiary of a nice saucer pass from Joey Ferrera. The second ended with the teams tied at 3’s as the Sting had clawed their way back from a 3 goal hole with 3 unanswered markers.
The Sting were short handed to start the 3rd period but this did not deter the boys. The 2nd period momentum swing continued as a shorty was scored as Lucas Knowles went coast to coast and tucked it in on the wrap around effort. The deal was sealed as the Sting added an empty netter as Lucas unselfishly passed to Dante Fuoco for the tap in. The game ended 5 – 3 Sting and had the boys back in the win category. The team showed good heart and determination in coming back to earn the victory.
Game 2 of the series pitting the Lambton Jr Sting Major Peewee AAA’s against the rival Chatham Kent Cyclones took place in Chatham at the Memorial Arena. The Sting were looking to take a 4 point to 0 stranglehold lead in this 6 point series. They were also looking for a vastly improved start to the game than they had in the series opener.
A power play 30 seconds in proved fruitless for the Sting as the Cyclone penalty kill kept the chances to a minimum. The boys from Lambton would notch the game’s opening goal at the 5:30 mark by the newly formed “MAD Line” of Curtis Marks, Cameron Adam and Nic Direzze. Marks put the puck away off of a goal mouth scramble. The entire line had created sustained pressure deep in the Chatham zone with Langford and Trusler holding strong at the blue line. Theo Crombeen almost gave the Sting a 2 goal lead while on a break-a-way but was denied as the goaler got just enough of the puck to have it graze the outside of the post. The MAD line would strike again this time with Jordan Hurtubise passing to Adam who dished to Direzze while on the power play as the second period came to a close.
Starting the 2nd with the 2-0 advantage had the Sting feeling confident but mindful of the Cyclone’s efforts in game 1. The two teams exchanged early power plays that despite good pressure neither offense was able to penetrate the penalty kill and the score remained 2-0. In what was turning into a very tightly officiated game, 5 on 5 hockey was at a premium. As soon as one penalty would end, seemingly the other team would get one. It was a period dominated by good penalty killing and goaltending as the period was scoreless and the Sting maintained their 2-0 lead.
The officiating in the 3rd picked up right where it had left off in the 2nd. At least the calls were going both ways. In fact, there were so many stoppages that the time keeper had to start playing songs twice! The Sting would go up 3-0 as Dante Fuoco streaked down the right side and blasted a 5-hole shot through the Cyclone goaler’s pads. Chatham Kent would break Josh Bayne’s shutout bid as a centering pass from the corner went in off a skate … unlucky! This however was as close as they would get as the Lambton squad returned home with a 3-1 victory and the desired 4-0 point lead in the series.
Game 3 had the Sting looking to close out the series and move on to face the winner of London and Sun County. Less than a minute into the game, Lucas Knowles notched his 3rd of the series with assists going to Cameron Rombouts and Joe Correia. The early goal certainly put the Cyclones back on their heels as the Sting would control much of the first period. Only stellar play by the netminder kept it a 1 goal game as the Sting employed solid fore checking, cycling and strength at the blue lines.
The 2nd opened with the hometown Peewee’s killing off a late 1st period penalty call. The Sting penalty killers would control and limit the Cyclones to a single chance that Jakob Knowles was easily able to turn aside. A motoring down his off wing Cameron Rombouts gave the Sting a 2-0 lead as he beat the goaler 5-hole with a nicely place shot. Cameron Adam would increase the lead to 3 when he knocked in the rebound off of Lucas Knowles shot. The second assist went to Brett Allardyce who had made a nice cross ice breakout stretch pass hitting Lucas in stride. Chatham would get on the board as their point shot was tipped twice and found the back of the net. The 3 goal lead was re-established by the MAD line with Direzze being the beneficiary of passes from Adam and Marks.
The 3rd started with some 4 on 4 action and lots of open ice as two separate minor penalties called 8 seconds apart closed out the 2nd with the Sting up 4-1. The Cyclones, to their credit were not rolling over and would capitalize on the power play to pull back within 2. They definitely were trying to extend the series to game 4. With just under 5 minutes to play, the face off deep in our zone and Chatham pressing, the Sting were looking to regain the momentum. Cameron Adam won the faceoff to Curtis Marks who battled and beat both Cyclone defenders the length of the ice and then the lit the lamp top glove side. A knuckle ball from Joey Ferrera bounced past the helpless Cyclone goaler to round out the scoring (assists to Rombouts and Crombeen). The Sting prevailed with a final of 6-2 eliminating Chatham for the season in three straight games.