By Kevin Werner, News Staff
The Stoney Creek Jr. B Warriors, on the verge of tying their series with the third-seeded Welland Jr. B Canadians, lost a heart-breaker in overtime 3-2 at Valley Park Arena March 4.
The Canadians’ Robert Lepine snagged a loose puck in the corner and snapped a vicious shot past a startled Blake Richards at the 12:17 mark of overtime to send the Canadians back to their home arena up 3-1 in their best-of-seven game series.
Game five is scheduled forWelland March 5, starting at 7:30 p.m.
The Canadians took a 1-0 lead in the first period, but the Warriors remained undaunted, pressuring Welland’s defense and forcing goalie Chris McDougall to come up with solid saves.Stoney Creekcame out in the second period with a heightened sense of intensity, and creating opportunities, rattling a shot off the post, and just missing a few second later on a wide open net. Stoney Creek continued the pressure when they had a two-man advantage over the Canadians after Welland was called for two cross-checking penalties. A few minutes later the Warriors’ efforts were rewarded with a power play goal when Stoney Creek native Cordell James found the back of the net to tie the game at one.
In a nifty display of individual effort the Warriors’ Harry Poyloka deked a Canadians’ defenseman, and out-foxed McDougall to put Stoney Creekup 2-1 early in the third period. But nearly half-way through the period the Canadians knotted the score at two to set upWelland’s overtime win.
For the second game in a row the Warriors out-shot the Canadians 37-33. In game four at Welland Arena March 4, Stoney Creek took 34 shots to the Canadians 20, but still ended up on the losing side of a 4-1 contest. James scored the Warriors lone goal.
The Warriors on Feb. 28 dominated the Canadians at Valley Park Arena 8-3 to tie the series up at the time.Welland opened the series Feb. 27 with a 5-2 win at Welland Arena.
Game four proved an exciting bout of hockey, which was expected considering the Warriors had played the Jr. Canadians close throughout the series.
Despite the Warriors 18-26-7 record, compared to the Canadians 35-15-1, and the Welland club winning the season series 6-1, most of the games were decided by only one goal.
The Warriors had the lowest team penalty minutes in the league, and they had two of the leagues top goalies in rookie of the year Alexander Brooks-Potts, and Richards.
Wellandalso features strong defensive backstops, backed by the top two goalies in the league in McDougall and Matt Coulombe.Welland was also fourth in overall goal scoring this season.