The Huron Perth Lakers AAA Major Peewees and the Jr. Knights put on quite a display of exciting hockey last weekend (Feb. 21 & 22) with each team notching one goal victories… now it was time for round two with another home and home series scheduled. The fans, coaches and players would be very satisfied if the excitement of these games could even come close to the previous weekend. On Feb. 28th the Lakers travelled to Nichols arena in London and you could feel the tension in the air before this pivotal third game.
Lakers 3 - Jr. Knights 2
After a face paced warm up both teams lined up and shook hands. The Lakers appeared to have a good jump to their stride and certainly opened the game as such. Goalie Cole Thomas
acknowledged the referee and the puck was dropped. Thirty seconds into the game a loose puck was chipped to the Knights' blue line and Derek Elliott
turned on the jets to take the loose puck right to the net. Elliott
had his head up and fired a perfect shot high over the goalie's blocker into the corner of the net giving the Lakers a 1-0 lead. One minute later, Nathan Templeman
controlled the puck inside the Knights' zone and feathered a pass to Roland McKeown
darted from the corner, went to his backhand and then to his forehand snapping a low shot through the five hole making the score 2-0. This goal led to the Knights to make a goaltending change. Three minutes into the period, the Lakers continued to aggressively force the play deep in the London zone. There was a mad scramble in front of the Knights' net with Taylor Moir
and Bayley Boyes
digging hard for the puck when Keigan Goetz
shovelled the puck into the net upping the score to 3-0. The Lakers continued to press the play but the Knights began to get their legs and slowly started to push the play back into the Lakers' zone. On one such rush by the Knights, Gregory Swan
backchecked right to the Lakers' net lifting the stick of their forward to deny a goal. With three minutes to play in the period, Thomas
made a good glove save off a London sharp shooter. Late in the period, the Knights were on an odd man rush when defenseman Ryan Stulp-Jacobson
made a good play stepping up to intercept a pass which could have spelled trouble.
The second period started off fairly even with both teams playing hard along the wall and looking sharp with their passes. James
teed a shot up three minutes into the period only to have the Knights' goalie made a huge glove save. On the next shift, Frasier Lewis
made a good play to keep a high clearing attempt in the London zone smartly using his glove to knock the puck down. The Lakers had many plays using second effort to win control of the puck… one such time was when Goetz
was checked to his back but still cleared the puck into the Knights' zone from his back. At the mid way point of the period, Taylor Moir
picked up a loose puck at centre and used his speed to get a good scoring opportunity. The line of McKenzie Carter
, Andrew Bogdon
, and Swan
had the Knights hemmed in their zone but could not find the back of the net. With four minutes to play, Thomas
had to perform the splits to cover the post on a wrap around to once again stymie the Knights attack. Late in the period, the Knights caught the Lakers off guard and made the score 3-1 heading to the third period.
With no flood… both teams took a short break and the Lakers were using the time to get some last minute instructions. The Knights came out flying and carried the play early in the period. Thomas
had to go post to post…right to left…to make a fantastic left pad save two minutes into the period. With the play going end to end the excitement was beginning to build within the Nichols arena. With nine minutes to play, the Knights power play struck on a long shot that was tipped in front of the net to draw within one 3 –2. Defenseman Carter Stewart
and Alex Peters
came up with a great shift forcing the Knights wide keeping the puck out of harms way. The Knights continued to look for the equaliser but Thomas
was up to the task. This game saw the momentum shift several times... the Knights had the momentum late in the game. With one minute to play, the Knights called a time out and pulled their goalie. The Lakers were up to this challenge and held on to the 3-2 victory and a 4 – 2 point series lead.
Next up is a return visit from this good Knights team on Sunday, March 1st at 5:30 pm.
Jr. Knights 4 – Lakers 1
Both teams took to the ice at 5:30 pm at the Goderich MRC… the Lakers looking to close out the series… the Knights trying to push the series to a fifth game. The Knights came out hungry for the puck and pushed the play for the first five minutes but Cole Thomas made some fine saves to keep the game scoreless. Every time the Lakers tried to answer the Knights early they were denied. With three minutes to play in the period, Garrett James
played an odd man rush perfectly. With the seconds ticking down the Lakers were glad to see the end of this period as the Knights out skated and out chanced the home team.
The Lakers came out with more energy in the second period and generated a few more scoring chances. Nathan Templeman
picked up a loose puck at centre and flew down the right side. He cut left into the open ice and fired a high – hard shot on which the Knights goalie made a fantastic glove save. At the nine minute marker, the Lakers power play clicked. Roland McKeown
won the face off to Bayley Boyes
who re-directed the puck to Garrett James
ripped a perfect low shot that found the back of the net giving the Lakers a 1-0 lead. At the seven minute marker the Knights power play struck to tie the score 1-1. With four minutes left in the period, a Knights forward caught the Lakers off guard and was going in all alone from centre ice. Great back checking by James
bothered the Knight enough so he could not get a good shot off on net. With ten seconds to play, the Lakers had three close in chances only to have the Knights goalie shut the door to keep the game tied heading to the third period.
After a flood, the teams came out looking for the same result as they stated in the first sentence above. The Knights came out and forced the Lakers back on their heals scoring two goals within the first two minutes to make the score 3-1. At the mid way point, the Knights sealed the game with their fourth goal. The Lakers continued to work hard and had some late game chances but could not solve the Knights goalie. The Lakers had a goal called back with two minutes to play with a high stick call. To the Lakers credit they continued to battle every shift but seemed to run out of energy early in this game.
The six point series is now tied at 4 points each with the fifth game scheduled for Nichols arena in London on March 3rd at 7:30 pm.