Feb 11, 2007 | bjstewart | 987 views
Lakers Major Atoms AAA go undefeated in 1st Round
The Huron Perth Lakers AAA Major Atoms traveled to Kitchener on Feb. 10th to continue their opening round of ALLIANCE league play downs. The Lakers held a 3-1 point lead in this 6 point series heading into this game. Due to inclement weather the week before, the Lakers were unable to hold their two practices and had to trust that their year long hard work would carry them through the weekend games.
The opening period showed that the Lakers were a little rusty due to their mini lay-off while the Kitchener Jr. Rangers were flying all over the ice. Several times in the period, goalie Kent Taylor was called upon to make acrobatic saves to keep the Rangers off the scoreboard. Finally the 1st period ended and, although the Rangers held an 11 – 1 shot advantage, the score remained 0-0.
The 2nd period started where the 1st period ended with the Rangers continuing their territorial dominance of the play and Taylor continued to stop all shots peppered his way. Wisely, head coach Jamie Petrie called a time out about 5 minutes into the period to try and calm his team down. This certainly worked as the Lakers began to apply some offensive pressure of their own and the play began to be more even. The 2nd period ended still tied 0-0.
The 3rd period entertained the fans with some heart stopping end to end action. At the 8 minute mark, Derek Elliott and Keigan Goetz stopped a Ranger rush in the neutral zone. Alertly, Nathan Templeman jumped on the lose puck and headed into the Ranger zone down the right side. Templeman pushed hard to the net holding off the Ranger defenseman and chipped a perfect shot high over the glove hand of the goalie to put the Lakers up 1-0. This provided a huge lift for the Lakers squad. Two minutes later the Lakers had the Rangers hemmed in their own end. The puck came around the boards, deflected off Goetz to Alex Peters who launched a cannon like shot which found the net to up the score to 2-0 for the Lakers. With the lead the entire Lakers team began to play a bit more defensive-minded knowing that a road win was within reach. The penalty killing for the team was called upon to shut down the Rangers power play a couple of times. With time running out and the Ranger goalie pulled for an extra attacker, Taylor continued to stop all pucks fired his way to earn the shutout. The Lakers recorded a well earned road victory 2-0.
The action continued on Feb. 11th in Brussels as the two teams took to the ice for their second game within 18 hours. The Rangers again came out flying and kept the Lakers offstride for the first few minutes. Kitchener opened the scoring at the 8 minute mark with a well placed shot. Three minutes later, Quinton Haddock picked up a loose puck at centre and sped past two defenders holding them off with his body and flipping a high shot into the corner of the net to even the score at one.
The second period opened again with the Rangers flying and getting the early jump. On the power play, the Rangers scored twice to take a 3-1 lead. Coach Petrie used his time-out early again this game with great success. Petrie rallied his troops and again the Lakers responded. At the 11 minute mark, the Lakers power play went to work moving the puck around the outside with Gregory Swan parked in front screening the Ranger goalie. Garrett James feathered a pass to Jared McCann who made a perfect shot to make the score 3-2. Less than one minute later, Derek Elliott skated the puck deep into the Rangers zone leaving the puck for Haddock who made a perfect pass to defenseman James who had made a great read to receive the pass and then blasted a shot past the goalie to tie the score at three. The teams continued to skate end to end testing both goalies with many hard shots. With just under 6 minutes remaining in the 2nd period, the Lakers forced the play once again. Bayley Boyes found Nathan Templeman open just inside the blue line. Templeman stepped into a rocket-like shot that caromed off the crossbar into the net putting the Lakers up 4-3.
With the tension building on the ice, the teams treated the fans with a final period of exciting hockey. The Lakers staff knew a tie and one point would put the team onto the next round but they were pushing for the victory. Maverick Petrie was called upon to put in some quality minutes being an effective penalty killer. With 4 minutes remaining the vaunted Laker power play went to work again. Some good fore checking and puck movement lead to a goal. Boyes drilled a good low shot on the Ranger net. Swan was in front of the net to gather up the rebound and sharply put a shot through the five hole to ice the game at 5-3. The defensive unit of Connor Shaw, Carter Stewart, Alex Peters, Garrett James and Ryan Stulp-Jacobson took turns forming a wall around goalie Taylor in the last few minutes of the game. The Rangers pulled their goalie with a minute and a half left but could not mount a sustained attack due to the Lakers outhustling and outworking their opponent. The Lakers showed that they will stand as a team as they backed each other up during many scrums during the game. Both teams are to be congratulated on an entertaining series.
The Major Atoms AAA now wait for the winner of the Brantford and Cambridge series.
Written by Jeff Swan.