First off, I’d like to give a big thumbs up to the organizers from the Huron-Perth association and those working at the Pyramid complex for setting up a fantastic first day of the weekend. The home baked treats were an added bonus this year.
Secondly, the net at this arena are atrocious. I have never in all my years involved in hockey ever seen the nets come off its pegs as often as I did today, and we’re only one day into the event. Hopefully something can be figured out overnight to save us from having an extra 10 stoppages per game.
Now over to the actual games being played. Day one saw a couple of close games and a couple of blowouts. The close games had the drama while the blowouts showcased some big games for the forwards. As I am only one person, not every game could be viewed in its entirety, but I was able to catch at least a chunk of every game today.
Elgin-MIddlesex edges past Cambridge Hawks
The Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs picked up their 2nd win of the season in what could be described as an upset, 3-2 over the Cambridge Hawks. The Hawks thought they were headed for a tie after Jagger O’Toole tied the game with just over a minute remaining. But the Chiefs stormed right back and Hunter Monkhouse banged home a rebound to put the Chiefs back up for good with 26 seconds remaining.
Mark Woolley was the guy for Elgin, scoring twice while assisting the only other Chiefs goal. Russell Oldham was also a player for the Chiefs who continually was involved in the offensive zone. Cambridge had a good game from forwards David Anderson and Kyle Yetman, both were close to scoring on numerous occasions.
London dominates Huron-Perth
London continued its strong play in their 2nd Alliance game of the season, easily getting by the host Huron-Perth Lakers 7-1. It didn’t take long for the Jr. Knights to get on the board and it was Luke Drewitt who did it, something that is becoming a common theme for London games. London would go on to score seven straight before Parker Miller scored for the Lakers with under two minutes remaining to break up Lewis Boulton’s shutout.
Jeffrey Burridge and Aidan Preuter played very strong together alongside Bryce Lewis. The trio accounted for two goals on one shift in the 2nd period. I also thought Mason Howard really showed off his physical stature and size in dictated possession in his own end. Josh Zelek stood out for the Lakers, although he continually found himself on the wrong end of Howard.
Hamilton cruises past Lambton
It was close early on and it appeared like this game was going to be a low scoring affair until the Huskies exploded to score the first eight goals of the game, eventually winning their first of the season 8-1 over the Lambton Jr. Sting. To begin the game, Hamilton couldn’t get much going and anytime they did, Tristan Clark was up to the test in the Lambton net. The Jr. Sting even saw some momentum go their way with a long powerplay that produced plenty of chance, but no goals.
When Hamilton’s offence started to click, it was a trio of forwards who really stood out. First and foremost it would have to be T.J. Hughes, who was unstoppable in the 2nd half of the game. Captain Jordan Stock and Tim Howell also put up significant stats in this game. While there weren’t a plethora of positives for the Jr. Sting, Nolan DeGurse showed himself to be a player to watch over the course of the season while former Chief Kyle Kachan appears to have taken a significant leadership role on the team.
Chatham-Kent takes down Brantford
Chatham-Kent came close to picking up their first win last weekend, but fell short against Kitchener. It was game two of the year that produced the Cyclones first win. Playing a Brantford team that the league is still trying to figure out, the Cyclones used physical play and strong defence to stifle the 99ers offence.
Grayson Ladd continued his strong play while Bryar Dittmer and Lucas Fancy showed their ability to spread out the offence when they’re on the ice. Jacob Bloomfield continued to impress and Ben Williamson, despite giving up four goals, put in a good performance in net.
Kitchener improves to 3-0, Sun County falls to 0-3
The improved Jr. Rangers continued their climb with a third straight win while the Sun County Panthers are still searching for an answer after dropping their third straight to begin the season.
Kitchener, shorthanded missing the likes of Justin McCombs and Tyler Ballantyne, came out of the gate slow. They weren’t very strong on the puck and the defence wasn’t making quick decisions, allowing the Panthers to force multiple turnovers in the offensive zone. A great shot by Zach Russell and a beautiful fake and wrap around by Cole Schwindt opened the scoring and Kitchener didn’t look back.
Schwindt was the big gun for Kitchener without McCombs in the lineup. His hustle on the ice is very evident. Cole MacKay also had a good game, always the threat when in the Sun County zone. The Panthers still haven’t really found a way for the offence to click. Their best forward in this one was Zane Dalpe, who also showcased his ability to hang with the older players in the physicality department. Blue liners Stefan Dobrich and Luc Warnock were really good as well.
Windsor gives Waterloo first loss of the season
While it definitely wasn’t the best game of the day, the 3rd period between these two clubs was for sure the best of the day. The period was dominated by the Wolves, but a late penalty by Waterloo gave Tyler Tulio the opportunity to win the game and he did so with a beautiful backhand past Cy Martin.
Cal Christner and Brayden Krieger were the strongest forwards for the Wolves although Keean Washkurak was also very good. Windsor had Tulio who was showing some improved stick handling. Alongside Tulio was Adam Jeffery who was strong in his play this evening.