DORCHESTER - The McDonald’s Independent Grocer ‘BB’ Atoms have punched their ticket to the OMHA quarter-finals against Caledonia.
A 1-0 victory here Saturday afternoon gave John Bolton’s squad the best-of-five series three games to one. After losing the series opener 3-2 to the Dragons on home ice, the Atom Rock responded with three straight wins--2-0, 4-2 and 1-0. The two shutout victories came in Dorchester.
In Saturday’s Game 4, Eric Taylor’s goal midway through the first period stood up as the winner and goalie Jake Bryans registered the deserving shutout with an outstanding effort.
“It was pretty exciting,” St. Marys coach John Bolton reported. “Jake Bryans came up big for us. He really played well . . . he was the reason we won.
“And we played a really good game defensively,” he added.
Dragons hit the crossbar with just 12 seconds remaining in the game, Bolton noted.
In the series, St. Marys out-scored Dorchester 9-5.
The best-of-five provincial quarter-final begins tonight (Feb. 13) in Caledonia at 7 p.m. Game 2 is Saturday in St. Marys at 3 p.m., with Game 3 the following day in Caledonia at 4:30 p.m.
If necessary, Game 4 is Wednesday, Feb. 20 in St. Marys at 7 o’clock.
Hat trick for Topp
In the pivotal third game of the series last Wednesday night at the PRC, a hat trick by forward Curtis Topp powered the Grocer Atoms to a 4-2 victory over the Dragons.
The teams were tied 2-2 after the first period, with Topp and Eric Taylor scoring the St. Marys goals. After a scoreless second period, Topp scored what proved to be the winner 29 seconds into the third after a good play at the blue line by defenceman Sam Bolton.
Goalie Jake Bryans kept the Rock in the lead with a big glove save off a Dorchester sharp-shooter with 6:32 remaining in the third.
The Grocer squad finally nailed down the victory when Topp scored into an empty Dragons’ net with 33 seconds left on the clock. Good forechecking in the Dorchester zone by Matt Payette set up the clinching goal.
Each team took four minor penalties.
“It was a good, old-fashioned playoff hockey game,” coach Bolton said with a smile. “It was a little rough, a little gritty, and a lot of hard, fast skating with pucks to the net . . . good hard play by both teams.”
After losing the series opener, 3-2, on home ice, Bolton says his team’s fierce desire to win has put the Rock in front in the series.
“The guys want it,” the head coach said. “The guys are playing as a team and they’re playing for each other.
“You don’t often see a kid make a pass, down deep, for an empty-net goal. Matty Payette made that pass, unselfishly, to Curtis. That’s what it is, they’re playing together and they’re playing for each other.”
Bryans blanks Dragons
The previous night in Dorchester, the Grocer Atoms squared their best-of-five series at 1-1 with a must-win 2-0 victory over the home-town Dragons.
Jake Bryans notched the shutout.
“We have a tenacious team,” John Bolton reported. “Dorchester has a good, hard-working team, and I think we’re equally matched with them.
“It’s kind of a flip-a-coin series. Both teams are fast and both teams work really hard. It’s just going to come down to who puts their chances in the net.
“It was a pretty even game. Jake played a really good game, and we capitalized on a couple of chances to get goals,” he added.
The St. Marys goal-scorers were forwards Blake Boreham and Jacob Wiles.
Rutherford Midgets oust Southwest
Last Monday, Feb. 4 at the PRC, the Rutherford Group A-E Midgets finally eliminated a stubborn Southwest (Bothwell) squad.
A pair of first-period goals were enough to carry the Rock to a tight 2-1 victory in the fifth game of the series. The win gave St. Marys the six-point OMHA series seven points to three.
Scoring for the home team were Nolan Pearson and Brandon Edgar. Edgar’s goal came in the final minute of the opening frame, and gave the Rock a 2-0 lead.
Southwest scored at 2:31 of the third, but the visitors could get no closer.
Two nights earlier, the Bothwell team had stayed alive with a 3-3 tie in a game played in Glencoe.
The Rutherford A-E Midgets are now playing Lambton Shores in the provincial quarter-finals. The teams split two regular-season games, both winning 4-2.
The series opener was Sunday night in St. Marys, with the Predators skating to a 2-0 victory.
The teams were deadlocked 0-0 after two periods. Lambton Shores scored the clinching goal with 1:24 left in the third.
Game 2 in the best-of-five series was last night (Feb. 12) in Forest. Game 3 is also in Forest this Sunday at 7:15 p.m.
If necessary, Game 4 is in St. Marys on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 8:30 p.m.
Legion Midgets start with 2-2 OT tie
The Legion ‘BB’ Minor Midgets began their best-of-five OMHA quarter-final series with Dorchester this past Sunday at the PRC. The teams each picked up a point after settling for a 2-2 overtime tie.
Rock coach Paul Petrie noted that all games with Dorchester this season have been close.
The Legion squad led 1-0 after the first period on a goal by Connor Topp. Dragons led 2-1 after two periods. Adam Hyatt’s third-period goal gave the Rock the tie.
Ten minutes of extra time went scoreless, with St. Marys carrying most of the play.
Game 2 in the six-point series is this Friday in Dorchester, starting at 9:30 p.m. Game 3 is back in St. Marys Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
Dunny’s Atoms ousted by Lancers
In another OMHA game on Feb. 4 at the PRC, the Dunny’s Sports A-E Atoms stayed alive in their series with Lambeth Lancers.
A couple of third-period goals were the difference as the Rock emerged with a 3-1 victory. With the must win, St. Marys trailed five points to three in the six-point series.
Jack Thorup’s second goal of the night, early in the final period, broke a 1-1 tie and stood up as the winner. Ben Martens added an insurance marker about four minutes later.
Earning assists for the Dunny’s crew were Martens, Scott McClelland, Nathan Reay, Josh McCurdy and Sam Watt.
Game 5 was played Saturday in Lambeth, and Lancers claimed the series seven points to three with a 2-0 victory.