Despite a strong start to the weekend, defeating the North Kawartha Knights 5-0 in Apsley on Saturday; the Port Perry MoJacks failed to make up any ground in the standings as they dropped a 5-3 decision to the Little Britain Merchants at home on Sunday.
After a disappointing 5-1 loss at home to league-leading Clarington last weekend, the MoJacks entered the weekend looking to get back in the win column as they made the trek to Apsley for a Saturday, Dec. 5 matinee against the Knights.
Goaltender Brett Chandler made a dazzling first impression after being acquired from the Georgina Ice on Thursday, Dec. 3, posting a shutout in his first regular season game with the MoJacks.
Mitchell Gustavsen, Lucas Berkers, Jeff St. Pierre, Konrad Piorkowski and Graham Lamers scored for the MoJacks in the win. Assists were credited to Jesse Menzies, Jordan McCullough, Piorkowski, Liam Schweda, St. Pierre, Kyle Schweda and Berkers.
Following the game, MoJacks head coach Clair Cornish noted that he expected the 18-year-old Chandler to be able to step in and compete right away after spending last season with the Junior ‘A’ Lindsay Muskies before splitting the early portion of this season between Clarington and Georgina.
“With Cooper Howieson’s injury taking longer than expected to heal, we had to ensure that we had a quality tandem in goal, and that’s what we expect Brett to bring. Blake Shaw has played a lot lately, and hopefully Brett can come in and spell him and give us some more consistency in practice rather than relying on players called up from Midget teams,” explained Cornish.
The MoJacks were looking to make it back-to-back wins the following afternoon when the Little Britain Merchants visited Scugog Arena.
The Merchants rang up an early lead just over three minutes into the action, with Derek Risebrough netting his fifth goal of the season. But, the MoJacks would waste little time replying, as just 15 seconds later, St. Pierre tied the game converting a great pass from Piorkowski. Less than three minutes later,
Todd McNair pushed the MoJacks into the lead with a powerplay goal, assisted by Kyle Schweda.
The teams would trade chances throughout the next seven minutes of action, until a crushing hit by Jesse Beers on Graham Lamers led to an odd-man rush for the Merchants, with Nate ‘Bubba’ Watson tying the game for the visitors.
The hard hits continued in the second period, with both sides seeking a physical edge.
The Merchants caught a break with just under 11 minutes to play in the middle frame, when Terry
Snoddon pounced on a loose puck and blazed past the MoJacks defence en route to a dazzling deke and breakway shorthanded goal to restore the Merchants’ lead.
Owen Fawns would double that lead early in the third period, and a powerplay goal by Jesse Craig would swell Little Britain’s advantage to 5-2.
Late in the game, tensions would boil over between the two sides with a lively bout between Gustavsen and Brant Foster bringing the crowd to its feet.
St. Pierre would score late for the MoJacks, but 5-3 would be as close as they’d get, with the Merchants cashing in the win.
Following the game, Cornish noted that the MoJacks had failed to capitalize on their scoring chances as they had the previous day in Apsley.
“On Saturday, we executed really well and were able to capitalize on our scoring chances. Against Little Britain, we had lots of shots, but couldn’t capitalize the same way especially in the second period, where we had lots of opportunities to pull ahead,” commented Cornish.
Meanwhile, Little Britain Assistant Coach Steve Trumball noted that the Merchants appear to be rounding into form, after a delayed start to the COJHL season winning three of their past four games following a string of three consecutive one-goal losses.
“We’ve been playing well. But, in this league it’s not good enough just to play well, you’ve got to find a way to win and we wanted to send a message that we’re for real and start putting points on the board.”
As well, Trumball noted that the Merchants have tried to establish depth in their lineup through the first half of the regular season, as well as maintain balanced special teams units.
“We feel good about our depth, and today we were able to use everyone on our powerplay, and on the penalty kill, Terry came through with a big shorthanded goal for us.”
- The MoJacks will host their annual ‘Wooly Toss’ in support of Operation Scugog on Sunday, Dec. 13, when the Georgina Ice visit Scugog Arena at 2:25 p.m. Fans are encourage to bring winter hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, and socks wrapped in a plastic bag to be thrown onto the ice when the MoJacks score their first goal.
- On Friday, Dec. 11, the MoJacks head west on Reach St. for another round in the ‘Battle of North Durham’ as they tangle with the Uxbridge Bruins at 7:45 p.m.
- Forward Kyle Schweda has now registered at least a point in his past five games.