The Huron Perth Lakers AAA Major Peewees took to the ice in Stratford on Feb. 14th hoping for a series sweep of the Brantford 99’ers after winning the first two games. It was good to see injured player Brody Tenpas at the game to encourage his fellow Lakers team mates. With a large crowd in attendance at the Rotary Complex the referee brought the teams together and dropped the puck at twelve noon… and the game was on.
Lakers 2 Brantford 2
The Lakers came out flying and controlled the play for the first five minutes with aggressive forechecking and some excellent passing plays. Roland McKeown
went flying down the right side of the rink and left the 99’ers defender no choice but to haul him down. The Lakers power play worked the puck around well but could not buy a goal. Moments later, the 99’ers picked up a loose puck at centre ice and went down the ice and scored to take a 1-0 lead. Starting goalie Cole Thomas
made a fine blocker save on the next shift to calm the game down for the Lakers. With two minutes to play in the period, Gregory Swan
battled for the puck in the corner chipping a pass back to Garrett James
fired a hard shot on net where McKenzie Carter
was in perfect position to push the puck in to tie the score at one. The Lakers dominated the first period but had to settle for the scoreboard reading a tie score.
The second period started with the Lakers forcing the play once again. Three minutes into the period, the ultimate “tic-tac-toe” play was displayed… Keigan Goetz
controlled the puck down low in the 99’ers zone. Goetz
labelled a pass onto the stick of Bayley Boyes
at the face off dot. Boyes
immediately went tape to tape onto the stick of Taylor Moir
who shot the puck in one motion past the goalie for a 2-1 lead. A couple of penalties to the Lakers on questionable calls slowed the game down and took the flow of the game from the Lakers. With the 99’ers trying to clear the puck from their zone James
made an acrobatic play as he lost an edge and had to deflect the puck with good hand eye co-ordination to keep the puck in the zone. With two minutes to play in the period, the 99’ers tied the game up 2-2. With 50 seconds to play, Thomas
made a fantastic point blank save with Swan
clearing the rebound from an empty net.
The third period began with the Lakers taking an early penalty helping the 99’ers to put the home team back on their heals for the first few minutes. Moir
broke in all alone and just missed on the breakaway. With the seconds ticking down, Boyes
fired a shot off the goalie's blocker which then deflected off the post… oh, so close. The game ended tied 2-2 with the teams heading to a five minute overtime period. Right off the drop of the puck Thomas
was called upon to make a good glove save. The Lakers again carried the play but could not get the bounce for the go ahead goal. The final buzzer sounded with the teams heading to a fourth game in Brantford on Sunday, Feb. 15th.
Lakers 3 Brantford 1
Both teams hit the ice at the Gretzky Centre right at 4:30 pm. The Lakers only needed a tie to close out the six point series as they held a 5 to 1 point lead. The referee signalled to the 99’ers goalie… then the Lakers goalie Eric Ryan
and dropped the puck to begin which could be the final game of the series. Brantford set the pace early with some very aggressive play. One minute into the game Ryan
had to be sharp with a pad save. A couple of Lakers penalties kept the momentum sloped towards Brantford during the first period. Midway through the period the 99’ers started the scoring going up 1-0.
Three minutes into the 2nd period, Ryan Stulp-Jacobson
made not one but two great plays on clearing attempts to keep the puck deep into the 99’ers zone. Roland McKeown
picked up the loose puck and walked in all alone firing a laser beam shot under the cross bar tying the game 1-1. At the five minute marker, Derek Elliott
directed the puck to McKeown
who drove to the net faking the goalie right and then chipping a puck into the left side of the net giving the Lakers a 2-1 lead. On the next shift, a Brantford forward had time to let fly a good shot on net only to have Ryan
challenging and playing the puck off his chest clearing the rebound into the corner.
The Lakers were now one period away from pushing the 99’ers out of the Play Down round. Early in the third period the 99’ers forced the play hard and often. Ryan
again had to make a good blocker save and then had to be very alert to cover up a loose puck in his goal crease. At the exact midway point of the period, Keigan Goetz
got the puck to the net and Moir
chipped the rebound into the net as he was being levelled giving the Lakers a 3-1 lead. The teams battled going end to end the rest of the game. Both teams had some good chances. Several times late in the game Ryan
had to be at his best to preserve this 3-1 victory.
After winning this series 7 points to 1 – the Lakers now look ahead to playing the London Jr Knights. The Lakers will need to limit the unnecessary penalties against the Jr Knights as they are known for having a very good power play. From all reports, the Lakers are looking forward to this challenge. The team is on an impressive roll as they are undefeated in their last 16 games with 15 of them being wins and are 20-1-1 in their last 22 games. Please check the Lakers web site for upcoming Lakers vs. London game dates and times.