The Cement ‘BB’ Major Midgets forged ahead with two wins last week to advance to the next round of OMHA playdowns.
Ken Schiedel’s squad was involved in a home-and-home, round-robin format with Mooretown Storm and Strathroy Rockets. Only one team would move on to the next playoff round.
Wednesday night saw the Cement men up against Mooretown at the Pyramid Centre. It was a fast-paced, hard-hitting affair for the first two periods.
After the Storm took an early 1-0 lead, the Cement men responded with three first-period goals.
Braiden Weston pounded home a rebound to tie it, with assists going to Rob Clifford and Colton Drinkwalter. Three minutes later, centre Bayley Boyes finished a nice passing play with Greg Swan and Lucas Spence to put the Rock ahead to stay. With a Mooretown player in the penalty box, St. Marys scored what would be the first of several powerplay goals. Rhett Lucas connected after some nice team work with Boyes and captain Mike Stover.
The only scoring in the second period would be a late goal by Mooretown to pull the visitors to within one at 3-2.
Five powerplay goals in third
The third period would be the Storm’s undoing, as a lack of discipline left the visitors shorthanded for most of the final 15 minutes. With their backs against the wall and facing elimination, Mooretown’s frustration began to get the best of them and a parade to the penalty box started almost from the drop of the puck.
Over a span of five minutes, the Cement men scored four consecutive powerplay goals and added a fifth when the Storm took a late penalty with less than two minutes remaining. The first four goals came with St. Marys holding a 5-on-3 advantage, and the outburst extended the Rock’s lead to 7-2.
Weston notched his second of the night after some nice passing with Swan and Boyes. Boyes then found the back of the net after teaming up with Stover and Drinkwalter. Winger Kyle Spence made it 6-2 after clicking with Swan and Weston, and then hard-working centre Scotty Munro took a pass from Rob Clifford and after some fancy stickhandling fed a nice pass to Lucas Spence who made no mistake.
After Mooretown finally got back to full strength, the visitors scored twice to cut the St. Marys lead to 7-4, but by then the damage had been done. Late in the game, Rhett Lucas fired the Rock’s sixth powerplay goal of the contest to complete the scoring and cap an 8-4 victory. Assists went to Clifford and Boyes, who notched his fifth point of the night.
The game’s top playmaker was Swan with four assists.
Andy O’Connell back-stopped the locals to the win with several key saves early in the game.
“We are very proud of our boys tonight with the discipline they showed,” head coach Ken Schiedel commented. “There was lots of opportunity to lose our heads, but the boys played smart and stayed out of trouble.”
St. Marys 3 - Strathroy 0
On Saturday afternoon, the Cement Midgets travelled to Strathroy to finish their preliminary four-game round-robin.
With the Rockets already eliminated and the Cement men moving on, the game was “a very classy one,” assistant coach Bob Davis reported.
Both sides played hard and fast and gave the fans some exciting hockey. There were no penalties in the game. Both teams generated several excellent chances, but the Rock controlled the play for the better part of the contest.
Kyle Spence opened the scoring early in the second period after some nice playmaking by Braiden Weston and defenceman Rob Clifford. Just before the break, centre Greg Swan made it 2-0 from Weston and Spence.
There was only one goal in the third. The line of Weston, Swan and Spence teamed up again, with Weston finishing the effort.
It was solid effort by the whole team, with injured players Lucas Spence and Nick O’Grady both showing strong recoveries in their play. Rock netminder Ryan Van Dam went the distance to record the shutout.
The teams shook hands at the end of the game in a true show of sportsmanship.
“Our defence was very solid tonight,” commented assistant coach Rick O’Donnell. “We held our blue line much better and allowed Ryan time to see the puck.”
“The line of Spence, Swan and Weston showed one of their best team efforts of the season. They worked the puck around to each other very well today and it paid off,” assistant Bob Davis noted.
Upcoming: The Cement Midgets now meet Dorchester Dragons in a best-of-five series. Game 2 is tonight (Jan. 30) at the PRC, starting at 8:30 p.m.