By Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News
In a small rink like J.L. Grightmire Arena, players don’t take long to recognize opposing players are on top of you fast – and the net gets to the puck quickly.
Peter Campbell and his Clarenville Caribous teammates figured out pretty quickly their best bet was getting pucks on the net in their first round-robin game Tuesday afternoon. And it worked, as they topped now winless Kenora Thistles 5-2.
Kenora drops to last place in division one, with a previous loss to Brantford, Monday afternoon. Brantford will meet Clarenville Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m., to battle for a day’s rest and a bye into the division semi-final.
“We had to adjust. Just shooting the puck more, it’s a matter of time,” Campbell said after the win.
Kenora actually outshot Clarenville 8-6 in the first period, but Clarenville goalie Jason Churchill shut the door – while his former babysister, who drove from Barrie to see the team from back home playing in Dundas, waved a signed cheering the goaltender on.
Campbell assisted on Ryan Desrosiers shorthanded goal with less than two minutes to play in the first period, to give Clarenville a 1-0 lead in what was starting to look like a goalie’s duel.
There was no scoring at all in the second period, as Kenora’s Tyler Gordon stepped up to stop Clarenville’s deluge of 11 shots on net. Clarenville was shooting the puck – to be sure – but Kenora was stopping it and the 1-0 score remained after two periods. Churchill kept up his side of the bargain, his babysitter was in the bouse after all, stopping six Kenora shots.
Then all hell broke loose in the third period – as both teams woke up to the small arena’s benefits and detriments: Thing happen very, very fast.
Kenora fired 15 shots at Churchill. Clarenville fired seven at Gordon. This time, some were getting through
Ryan Person and former Dundas Real McCoy TJ Sakaluk scored for Kenora. Rodi Short, Cam Fergus, and Martain Lapointe got through for Clarenville. Luke Gallant added an empty netter with 24 seconds left.