St. Marys Cement ‘BB’ Midgets have advanced to the provincial quarter-finals.
The Cement men went a perfect 4-0 in their round-robin with Strathroy Jr. Rockets and Dorchester Dragons, out-scoring their opponents 17-4 in the process. They didn’t allow a goal against in two road victories.
Ken Schiedel’s squad guaranteed themselves a spot in the next round with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Strathroy last Thursday night at the PRC.
The Rockets showed up to play, and gave St. Marys a stiff test.
Centre Greg Swan opened the scoring, unassisted, at 8:10 of the first period, beating Strathroy goalie Kent Lutowicz from a sharp angle. The goal was challenged by the Rockets, who argued the puck didn’t enter the net. After a discussion, referee Chad Petrie and his linesmen ruled otherwise.
Just under three minutes later, winger Kyle Spence scored what proved to be the winner on a powerplay after taking a perfect pass from centre Bayley Boyes. Defenceman Jamie Gibson earned a second assist.
The Cement men dominated the second period, but couldn’t add to their 2-0 lead. With just 3:20 left in the period, Rockets scored from a scramble and were suddenly back in the game.
Early in the third period, Lutowicz made a big stop from point-blank range on St. Marys forward Connor Topp.
The visitors pulled their goalie for an extra attacker with 1:22 to play, but Boyes won a couple of big face-offs in the Rock’s zone and the Cement men run out the clock.
Assistant coach Rick O’Donnell praised the line of Boyes, Kyle Spence and Rhett Lucas. “When they were on the ice, they controlled the play,” O’Donnell said.
Boyes was arguably St. Marys’ best player on this night.
Team elevates game
Coach Schiedel said he knew his team would have a tough test in the first round against a couple of formidable Shamrock opponents. “We knew we had to get our work boots on and get going,” he said.
Assistant Bob Davis said the Cement men knew they had to “pull up their socks” after going winless at their Regional Silver Stick tournament in the Niagara area.
“The kids figured out where they had slipped up at Silver Stick, and they got together and determined they needed to play like they did at the beginning of the season,” he explained.
“We’ve also had more practice time lately. We worked mostly on execution and they decided they wanted to win all four games. You don’t win four games against teams like Dorchester and Strathroy unless you’re on top of your game.
“We played with speed and intensity and they played with heart in the last four games. We had that little extra jump that you need to win,” he added.
Upcoming: The Cement Midgets will now play either Mooretown Storm or Erie North Shore in the next playoff round.