The Port Perry MoJacks had a humbling loss to an alumni team sandwiched around a pair of COJHL wins over an action-packed slate this weekend weekend.
For the first time in four years, the MoJacks were beaten by the alumni team from the Scugog Hockey League, dropping a 4-3 decision in the annual charity game in support of the Port Perry Hospital Foundation contested at Scugog Arena on Saturday, Jan. 24.
With the Alumni leading 3-2 after forty minutes of play, the current MoJacks tied the game early in the third period, only to have John Werry net the game winning goal with just 15 seconds remaining.
“We learned a lot,” MoJacks Head Coach Clair Cornish told The Standard. “They couldn’t skate with us, but they outsmarted us all night long. We couldn’t win face-offs, they made it really difficult to get to the front of the net, and they got great play from their goalies.”
Plans are already in the works to bring the popular event back next season. This year, the game raised almost $6,000, bringing the four-year total for money raised in support of the local hospital to well over $20,000.
“This is just fantastic. To see this kind of support from the community makes it all worthwhile and leads us to believe we will be doing this game as long as we get this kind of support. And, with the money going to a very worthwhile cause in the hospital makes it all the more special,” said organizer Stephen Connors.
Meanwhile, the MoJacks continue to find themselves in third place in the increasingly crowded COJHL table, one point behind second-place Uxbridge and two points ahead of the Clarington Eagles.
The MoJacks’ weekend got off to a blazing start as they rolled to a 9-5 victory over the Georgina Ice in Keswick on Friday, Jan. 23.
The Ice would take a 3-2 lead through the first period, with Brett Theissen and Jeff St. Pierre scoring for Port Perry, and early goals from Graham Lamers and Ryan Nichols allowed the MoJacks to wrestle away the lead in the second period.
The teams would trade goals throughout the remainder of the middle frame, with Kyle Powell and Theissen lighting the lamp, giving the MoJacks a 6-5 lead after 40 minutes. The third period gave the MoJacks the space to pull away from the Ice, with goals from Ryan Bernardes, Lamers and Lucas Clark rounding out the scoring.
On Sunday, Jan. 25, the MoJacks hit the ice at Scugog Arena for their third game in three days, as they looked to take down the North Kawartha Knights.
Evan Wasylyk gave the MoJacks the lead less than five minutes into the action, but the Knights would waste little time equalizing the match.
However, from there the game belonged to Port Perry as they reeled off five consecutive goals en route to a 6-1 win. Stevie Sampson, Cole Murray, Matt Doucette, Lamers and Nichols all scored for the MoJacks.
“We had a good practice this week, with more intensity on our special teams which translated this weekend,” explained Cornish.
This is shaping up to be a pivotal weekend for the MoJacks, as they face a home-and-home encounter with the Clarington Eagles. On Friday, Jan. 30, they square off in Bowmanville at 8:20 p.m., before resuming hostilities in Port Perry, at 2:25 p.m., on Sunday, Feb. 1.
“This could be it if a team can manage to take four points this weekend,” added Cornish. “To me, this is our first real test heading into the playoffs. It’ll be a real character test for us, and I’m looking forward to seeing how we respond.
- With goalie Blake Shaw sidelined with a lower-body injury, the MoJacks have signed Cody Northover. The Uxbridge product appeared in 23 games with the Bruins during the 2013-14 season, compiling a record of 13-7-2. In 2012, he helped lead the Uxbridge S.S. Tigers to a LOSSA championship, and a fourth-place showing at OFSAA.
However, Cornish noted that veteran netminder Jeff Julien will be counted on to take on an increased role, a task Cornish feels he is more than capable of performing.
“Cody is a nice insurance policy to have, and is a guy capable of performing in this league,” Cornish said. “But, right now, this is Jeff’s ball to run with, and he’s played in, and won a lot of big games for us over the past three seasons.”