BY DAN MCNEE
MILVERTON – It looked like the Milverton 4WheelDrives had all but put away the Monkton Wildcats in their Nov. 30 Senior ‘AA’ matchup at the Perth East Recreation Centre.
Milverton had just made it 3-0 less than a minute into the third period, and Monkton could not seem to generate any kind of offence. But after Brett Binning got one back for the Wildcats, a single penalty completely shifted the momentum of the game the rest of the way.
And strangely enough, it was a Monkton penalty.
The Wildcats (3-6-3) would score two shorthanded goals in less than 30 seconds to tie up the game and force overtime in Saturday’s second installment of the Battle of Perth County. The Drives (4-7-2) had won the first meeting back on Oct. 11, interestingly enough by a 3-0 final. It looked as though things were headed that way again before Monkton took advantage of two Milverton miscues on the blue line.
“Two shorthanded goals in one penalty, I’d say that’s pretty good,” said Wildcats head coach Randy Raycraft.
Mitch Facey would strip a Drives defender a few seconds into the Milverton power play and beat goaltender Tyler Huston with a backhand deke to make it 3-2. About 20 seconds later Steve Henderson pulled off an almost identical play, beating Huston through the five-hole on a shorthanded breakaway.
Milverton put on relentless pressure for the rest of regulation and overtime, but Jason Hamilton turned aside shot after shot in the Monkton net.
“He was excellent, great goaltending,” said Raycraft of his netminder.
Facey scored the lone goal in the shootout for the Wildcats and Hamilton stopped the first two Drives shooters. Milverton’s Andrew Whalen then rang one off the post to give the ‘Cats the 4-3 victory.
“We’ve got a long way to go yet, but that was a good win for us for sure,” said Raycraft.
Monkton was unable to keep their winning ways going the next day, however, in a Sunday matinee contest against the South Division-leading Tillsonburg Thunder.
Pat McClure and Andrew Lorimer each scored for Monkton and Hamilton made 45 saves in a 6-2 loss to the Thunder in a game that was played at Listowel Memorial Arena.
Neil Pittock made 34 saves for the win and seven different Tillsonburg players registered two points as the Thunder picked up their league-leading 11th victory of the season.
The Wildcats return home to the Elma Logan Recreation Complex this Friday, Dec. 6 to meet the Tavistock Royals (9-4-0). Game time is 8:30 p.m.
Milverton heads to Goderich (1-11-0) to play the Pirates on Friday night, before returning home to the PERC to face the Komoka Classics (8-2-0) on Sunday afternoon (Dec. 8) at 1:30 p.m.