Special to The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: The Port Perry MoJacks, once again, had their weekend slate of Provincial Junior Hockey League action cut in half, due to weather, but managed to score a 5-2 win over the rival Uxbridge Bruins, in the latest round of ‘The Battle of North Durham’ on Sunday afternoon.
After wicked winter weather forced the team to postpone their Friday night match-up in Keswick against the Georgina Ice, the MoJacks turned their attention to a pivotal Orr Division match-up opposite Uxbridge at Scugog Arena. The game saw the team host their annual ‘Wooly Toss’ in support of Operation Scugog, after it had been delayed, following the postponement of last weekend’s home date against the North Kawartha Knights.
Bubba McCullough wasted little time putting the MoJacks on the scoreboard, with a power play goal, less than three minutes into the action, sending a barrage of winter hats, mittens, gloves and scarves streaming down from the crowd.
Just over 10 minutes later, Konrad Piorkowski gave the crowd something else to cheer about when he scored, to give the MoJacks a 2-0 advantage. The goal gave Piorkowski a ‘Pointstreak Era’, 2007 to present, team record of 130 points, passing Matt Murray for the honour.
A Nick Sribny shorthanded goal, with just 28 seconds remaining in the opening period, put the Bruins on the board, with assists credited to Simon Fieg and Ryan Dunlop.
The second period opened with great scoring chances for both teams. Stymied by the goal post and terrific defensive zone play, both sides brought increased physicality to the middle frame, looking for the pivotal next goal. That goal would come just before the midpoint of the period, when Cole Murray powered past a Bruins defender and tucked the puck in, to restore a two-goal lead for the MoJacks.
The Bruins were buoyed in the latter half of the second by several sensational saves, from net minder Jake Joosten, including a quick flash of his glove on a Graham Lamers scoring chance.
The Bruins remained desperate to claw their way back into the game in the third period, despite strong goaltending from Port Perry’s Blake Shaw and sound defensive zone coverage from Liam Schweda and Lucas Berkers. However, with just under nine minutes to play in regulation, Damien Heinle cut sharply on net and beat Shaw low with some nifty stick work, to bring the Bruins back to within a goal.
That would be as close a Uxbridge would get, as late penalties sunk the Bruins’ comeback charge, when Mitch Gustavsen potted a pair of power play goals to seal the win for Port Perry, with assists credited to Schweda, Dan Harris, Tyler Hutchinson and Piorkowski.
While Piorkowski now holds the ‘Poinstreak Era’ points mark, from 1987 to present, as far back as OHA records date, the modern era scoring record still belongs to Brad Menzies, who complied a remarkable 250 points over the course of four seasons, with the MoJacks from 1988 to 1992. His longtime linemate, and fellow Port Perry product, John Harman maintains the career record for assists with 140.
The MoJacks career mark for goals belongs to Keith Leslie with 108. As well, Leslie, later an Assistant Coach with the Bruins and Little Britain Merchants, set the single season scoring record with 101 points, from 49 goals and 52 assists, both single season marks, in a dazzling display during the 1995-96 season.
The Bruins and MoJacks will renew hostilities on Friday night, Dec. 23rd, when ‘The Battle of North Durham’ shifts west on Reach Rd., with a 7:45 p.m. match-up at the Bear Den in Uxbridge.
Uxbridge closes out 2016 when the Lakefield Chiefs visit the Bear Den, on Friday, Dec. 30th.
The MoJacks will ring in 2017 with a special event at Scugog Arena, when EHC Dudendorf visit Port Perry all the way from Switzerland for an exhibition game, starting at 2:25 p.m., on New Year’s Day, which promises to be a can’t-miss event for local hockey fans.