Special to The Standard
A pair of weekend wins allowed the Port Perry MoJacks to extend their franchise-best start to a season. With victories over the Little Britain Merchants and Lakefield Chiefs, the MoJacks are now unbeaten in their first 11 Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL) contests.
The back-to-back victories began on Saturday night (Oct. 22nd), with a trip to Little Britain, and a 6-2 win over the Merchants.
Goals from Konrad Piorkowski, Ben Sheremeta and Mitch Gustavsen pushed Port Perry to a 3-0 lead, early in the second period. It looked as though the MoJacks were going to carry that resounding margin into the third period, until Aidan Renouf got the Merchants on the scoreboard, with just 18 seconds left in the middle frame.
Runoff brought the Merchants to within a goal just 41 seconds into the third period, but that would be as close as Little Britain would get. After several close calls, the MoJacks rolled in the final eight minutes of the game, sending three pucks into the Merchants’ net, to skate away with a 6-2 win.
On Sunday afternoon at Scugog Arena, there was little time for rest for the MoJacks, as they hosted the second-place Lakefield Chiefs, who were sitting just two points behind Port Perry in the PJHL Orr Division standings.
The MoJacks showed no signs of fatigue in the early portion of the match, roaring to a 4-0 advantage in the first 11 minutes of the game, led by a pair from Graham Lamers and singles from Bubba McCullough and Toby Cooper.
Lakefield would break up Jordan Lebel’s shutout bid early in the second period, but Chris Polito restored Port Perry’s four-goal lead late in the frame. The Chiefs noted another goal early in the third to round out the scoring in Port Perry’s 6-2 victory.
There was plenty of exciting PJHL action in Uxbridge on Friday night, with the Merchants visiting the Bear Den for the first time this season. Both sides were looking to get back on track following losses, providing for an intense match-up between the rivals. The two sides would battle back-and-forth throughout the evening, ultimately needing overtime to settle the Bruins’ 3-2 victory.
Coby Gardner gave the Bruins an early lead, scoring his second of the campaign just over a minute into the action. The lead would not last long however, with Mitch Brown taking advantage of extra time-and-space, as the Merchants enjoyed a powerplay, he finished off an excellent passing play between Jesse Craig and Billy Finney, to knot the game 1-1, through 20 minutes of play.
Both sides had great chances to score in the middle frame, but were stymied by outstanding goal-tending from Uxbridge’s Jake Joosten and his Merchant counterpart Chadd Callaghan.
Just over three minutes into the third period, Max Field notched his first career junior hockey goal to lift the Merchants to a 2-1 advantage. But, the lead would be short-lived, when Damien Heinle and Aiden Reilly overwhelmed the opposition with speed, leading to the tying goal just 36 seconds later.
Both goalies continued to make sensational saves down the stretch, keeping the game all square at 2-2 through the end of regulation, sending the game to overtime. It wouldn’t take long to settle on a winner, with both sides trading tremendous scoring chances, early in the extra frame. Adam Bartholomew’s breakaway goal, 47 seconds into overtime, gave the Bruins the two points, handing Uxbridge their third straight win on home ice.
Another chapter will be written in ‘The Battle of North Durham’, on Friday, Oct. 28th, with Port Perry heading east to tangle with the archival Bruins in Uxbridge, starting at 7:45 p.m.
The Merchants entertain the Clarington Eagles in Little Britain, at 7:30 p.m., on Saturday night.
The Bruins will be making a Saturday night visit to Apsley to take on the North Kawartha Knights, with the action getting underway at 7:25 p.m.
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