The Huron Perth Lakers Major Peewees received a bye for the first round of playdowns when they earned first place in the East Division. The good was the rest afforded with the bye… the challenge was the long layoff as they have been in practice mode since January 18th. On February 8th, the Lakers finally opened their series against the Brantford 99’ers in Goderich. Despite having several high tempo practices the team had to quickly adjust to game-like action and showed a slight bit of rust on their passes and timing early in the game.
The first period started with the 99’ers being a bit more aggressive than the home team. A couple of good saves by goalie Cole Thomas
helped steady the team early in the game. At the three minute mark, Fraiser Lewis
chipped the puck to Nathan Templeman
who streaked in firing a backhander on net. Derek Elliott
collected the rebound and jammed the puck into the net giving the Lakers a 1-0 lead. The game went back and forth for the rest of the period with both teams missing a few scoring chances.
The second period saw the Lakers carry the play early in the period but could not buy a goal. Four minutes into the period the 99’ers capitalized on a defensive give away and tied the score at one. At the nine minute marker, Garrett James
controlled a loose puck in the neutral zone and quickly placed a cross ice pass on the stick of Roland McKeown
. He rushed the puck down the right side cutting hard to the net using Bayley Boyes
as a decoy. McKeown
faked the goalie to his knees sliding the puck under his pads to give the Lakers a 2-1 lead. Seconds later, Thomas
made a fine stick save to keep the 99’ers at one goal. While killing off a penalty, McKeown
reacted like a goalie to stop a slap shot with his left skate then sped down the ice leaving the Brantford player no option but to haul him down. On the next shift, with fifty seconds remaining in the second period McKenzie Carter
won a face off deep in the 99’ers zone back to James
. He neatly deked between two 99’ers leaving them both standing still. With Gregory Swan
effectively screening the goalie, James
placed a perfect shot past the goalie knee high on the glove side putting the Lakers up 3-1.
The third period found the Lakers beginning to find their stride. Two minutes into the period, Swan
dove and got the puck to winger Andrew Bogdon
who re-directed the puck to Carter
who was in all alone. Carter
head faked the goalie and raised the puck high into the top corner upping the Lakers lead to 4-1. Brantford would not quit and had a couple of two on ones. Both were perfectly played first by Carter Stewart
and then the second by James
. The Lakers earned full marks for this victory, out shooting the 99’ers 22 – 13 on way to the 4 -1 victory.
After such a long lay off the team can use this game to take many positives from it and build upon them. On the flip side, the coaching staff will use this game to emphasize the few little items that may have been missing due to the extended lay off in preparation for the next game on Feb. 11th in Brantford.