DARRYL KNIGHT Special to The Standard
SCUGOG: Three seconds was all that stood between the Port Perry MoJacks and a six-game unbeaten streak, after the Clarington Eagles snatched a 4-3 overtime victory, on Sunday afternoon at Scugog Arena.
The MoJacks had been on a five-game roll coming into the match-up, and are still locked in a fierce three-way battle for top spot in the Provincial Junior Hockey League’s Orr Division, as the regular season winds to a close.
It was a busy week for the MoJacks, with six games crammed into a stretch of nine days, but the team proved more than up to the test, winning the first five match-ups.
After posting wins over Georgina and North Kawartha last weekend, the MoJacks were back in action on Tuesday night in Keswick, for another match-up against the Ice. It was a balanced offensive attack for the MoJacks, with Graham Lamers scoring twice and singles chipped in by Mitch Gustavsen, Ben Sheremeta, Brady Martin, Cole Murray and Konrad Piorkowski.
The next night, the MoJacks were back in action, for a rare Wednesday night home game at Scugog Arena, looking to close down the Little Britain Merchants.
The MoJacks took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, on a powerplay goal by Lucas Berkers, only to have the Merchants come charging back with three goals in the middle stanza, before Gustavsen added a late marker, to bring Port Perry to within a goal heading into the third period.
The third period saw the MoJacks re-take the lead, behind goals from Jacob Roch and Dan Harris, before the Merchants once again tied the game, on Nick Thomakos’ 15th goal of the season. It appeared that the game was headed to overtime, when Piorkowski provided a MoJacks goal with just 25 seconds remaining in regulation, to seal the victory for Port Perry.
On Saturday night, the teams met for a rematch, in ‘The Sports Capital of the Kawarthas’, and the Merchants jumped out to an early lead on a goal by Jordan Sharpe. However, goals just nine seconds apart by Piorkowski, gave Port Perry a 2-1 advantage, at the end of the opening period.
The MoJacks’ lead extended to 4-1 in the middle frame, after a power play goal from Berkers and a shorthanded marker by Bubba McCullough. The Merchants cut Port Perry’s lead back down to two goals, after Thomakos scored late in the frame.
A shorthanded goal by Thomakos, just under three minutes into the third period, drew Little Britain to within a score, but that would be as close as they got, with the MoJacks reeling off three unanswered goals to take a 7-3 victory. Gustavsen, Luke Wyatt and Piorkowski all scored in the third period for Port Perry.
The MoJacks’ whirlwind stretch of the schedule came to a close, on Sunday afternoon at Scugog Arena, with the Clarington Eagles in town for a pivotal match-up, for positioning at the top of the standings, as the Eagles look to chase down the MoJacks and Lakefield for first place.
An early shorthanded goal by the Eagles opened the scoring, but McCullough would tie the game with just 29 seconds remaining in the first period. The Eagles soared in the second period, taking a 3-1 lead.
However, in the third period, the MoJacks were able to ruffle the Eagles’ feathers, as Clarington paraded to the penalty box throughout the final frame.
The tide turned for the Eagles in the third period, with Clarington controlling the play for much of the extra frame, only to be foiled by MoJacks goalie Brett Chandler time after time. However, with just three seconds remaining, William Lamoureux found himself uncovered in front of the net, slipping the puck over the line, as the Eagles flew away with two points in the standings. The loss puts the MoJacks two points behind the second place Lakefield Chiefs, and three points ahead of third-place Clarington.
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