Major Midgets... ...Finish Sched
In the last game of the regular season, Brandon Priestap’s goal got the Lakers going with help from Nick Boyer.
By the end of the period, the Hawks had tied the score and then pulled ahead 2-1. In the second period Luke Salter paid a small price, being hit into the blueline boards just as he dished off to Nick Boyer. Boyer had a clear shot from the left side but wisely sent the puck back to Garrett King who was cruising up the middle. King received the puck and roofed it.
The third period was well played and looked like it would remain scoreless until the Cambridge coach made an unexpected move – he pulled the goalie. For reasons understood only by armchair mathematicians, presumably having to do with playoff matchups, it was important for Cambridge to win this game in regulation time. They hoped to earn two points but, at the same time, prevent the Lakers from earning a single point. A good plan but one that was ruined by Jerry Ennett (Coghlin, King) who sent the puck into the empty net with :57 left in regulation.
Chad Smalley’s team finished the regular season with 43 points (21-13-0-1 OTL), tied for third place with Windsor Jr. Spitfires, two points behind the 2nd place Waterloo Wolves. London Jr. Knights led the league with 57 points. This standing earns the Lakers a first round playoff berth against the Kitchener Jr. Rangers who finished the season in 6th place with 33 pts. Hair dyed blond and freshly coiffed, the team is ready for a run at the Championship!!
The Major Midgets’ roster has been bolstered by the addition of several Minor Midget players – Mac MacSorley, Braydon Blight, Greg Williams, and Mike Siddall. These players add offensive and defensive strength and are a welcome addition, especially while the team awaits the return of steady defender Eli Adair and potent offensive threat Tyler Kettler. Captain Ryan Watson has already returned to the line-up and looks to be 100%. Jesse DeGroote is on the sidelines recovering from a neck injury but still leads all Huron-Perth players in the bad haircut category.
Luke Salter opened the playoff scoring in the first period by redirecting Nick Boyer’s shot through the 5-hole. Mac MacSorley also assisted on the goal. Drew Reinhardt showed his playoff form early when a Ranger forward, left alone in front, got off two shots before help arrived to clear the puck. Shane O’Brien looked to make it 2-0 when he fired his hard, quick shot while sliding between two defensemen. Rangers got one past Reinhardt to end the first period at one goal apiece.
The second period was scoreless but exciting. Ryan Watson contributed a great penalty kill - normal by his standards - when he joined the Ranger goalie and a d-man behind the net and somehow came away with the puck. Brandon Priestap got a good bounce at the Ranger blueline and looked to be in all alone but the play was called back. Goalie Reinhardt took a big risk by racing to the blueline after the puck. He won the race, narrowly avoiding a huge collision, but before he could return to his crease a Ranger fired the puck into the net from beyond the blueline. Fortunately for #31 a Ranger skater hadn’t quite vacated the zone and offside was called on the play. Both teams hit a post in the third period, Scott Coghlin from the point on a powerplay.
With overtime less than a minute away, Captain Watson positioned himself in front of the Rangers' goalie. Turning to face the goalie as Darren Kerr’s slapshot sailed by, Watson allowed the rebound to hit his midsection and batted the puck in when it dropped at his feet. Final score… 2-1 Lakers!!
With home ice advantage, Kitchener managed to score first with a slapshot that banked off J.P. Trudell’s stickside post. Nick Boyer helped the Blond Battalion even the score with a beautiful but risky pass. Facing the end boards to the side of the Rangers' net, Boyer sent a backpass out front just as he was bodied. Shane O’Brien anticipated the pass, stick down, and put the puck past the surprised goalie. Mike Siddall also assisted. On the same shift, O’Brien and Boyer were at it again. This time, on a 2 on 1, it was O’Brien dishing a gentle saucer pass which Boyer blasted into the goalie. With two minutes to play in the period, Ryan Watson deflected a low Scott Coghlin slapper but the puck hit padding. In the final seconds, Nick Boyer cruised in from the right, made a nifty move past a defender and just about fooled the goalie with his quick shot.
Jerry Ennett and David Sproat both had successful turns defending a second period 5 on 3 Rangers powerplay. In a 5 on 4 situation Scott Coghlin made a diving check in front of Trudell’s goal. On a Lakers' powerplay, Brandon Priestap did some great work in front of the Kitchener net. Slashed, and pushed into the goalie, #9 stood his ground and blocked the goalie’s view as Jeff McArdle’s pointshot flew by to make it 2-1. Trudell made his biggest save of the game to preserve the lead, his right pad flicking out to block a shot which was headed to the bottom corner of the net.
Exactly one minute into the third period, Kitchener took advantage of a 5 on 3 and tied the score at two apiece. Jerry Ennett’s low shot banked off the goalie’s pad onto the stick of Shane O’Brien who calmly went to the backhand….3-2. A slash to MacSorley gave the Lakers a two minute powerplay but Scott Coghlin only needed 10 seconds to fire the 4-2 slapper which cleanly beat the goalie. With :4.3 left on the clock, Garrett King took control of the puck in front of the Rangers' net and slid it under the sprawled goalie. Final score… 5-2!!
Leading two games to zero, the Lakers hit the ice at the revamped Dufferin Arena hoping to clinch the series at ‘home’. Halfway through the first period, Mac MacSorley worked to gain control of the puck deep in the Rangers' end. A beautiful set up to Jerry Ennett out front didn’t pay off immediately but Darren Kerr was nearby to beat the down and out Rangers goalie. Ryan Watson (King, Priestap) made it 2-0 from close quarters, patiently outwaiting and then sliding the puck underneath the goalie.
Drew Reinhardt got caught way out of his net while clearing the puck but arrived back in his crease just in time to make the save.
Reinhardt made his best save of the game in the second period when a player stepped from the sin-bin into a clear breakaway. #31 offered the 5-hole and then closed the door.
Rangers did manage a goal in the second but the third period was all Lakers. On a powerplay, Ryan Watson managed to keep the puck in at the blueline, and send it to Jeff McArdle in the corner. #10 spotted Garrett King in front…3-1. Travis Bowman made it 4-1 from MacSorley. Nick Boyer got the 5th, unassisted, and then helped set up the 6th. After using the body to gain the puck, Boyer set Brent Kipfer up for a shot which was redirected into the net by Mike Siddall. Final score…6-1!! Lakers sweep the series and… await WATERLOO!!!