By Darryl G. Smart
It’s been a long time since Keegan Damota has played a hockey game in Norfolk County, and the 18-year-old forward from Simcoe made sure it counted.
With just over five minute to go in regulation time, Dakota scored his first goal as a Port Dover Sailor to give his new team a 3-2 victory over the Grimsby Peach Kings in Provincial Junior Hockey League action Sunday.
Damota was acquired by the Sailors from the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s St. Thomas Stars less than 24 hours earlier. In 16 games with the Stars, he had three assists in 16 games. Prior to that, he was part of the Brantford 99ers AAA system after playing in Simcoe.
Mason Hardy and Dylan Stroud also scored for the Sailors, while Blake Venneri netted both Peach Kings’ goals.
“Keegan is a player the Sailors have been interested in for a couple of years,” sailros coach and general manager Mike Walker said. “He has that natural talent to be elusive with a shot that is able to find the back of the net when it’s taken. Keegan seems to be fitting into our dressing room very well which is a big part of our team’s decision process. Plus, he’s a local kid so having some friends in the room helps with the transition.”
Newcomer Nolan McDowell continues to impress between the Sailors’ pipes, recording his third win with his new team and making 36 saves. In four games, the goalie from Edmonton hasn’t lost in regulation, only losing once in overtime.
The win extended the Sailors’ winning streak to four games, giving them a 12-6-1 record, which puts them only two points behind the Peach Kings for top spot in the PJHL’s Bloomfield Division.
Thursday they hit the road against the Niagara Riverhawks at 7:30pm, before playing the Dunnville Mudcats on the road Friday at 7:30pm. Sunday the Sailors return home to face the Dundas Blues at 2pm.
The Hagersville Hawks threw everything but the kitchen sink at Owen McDonnell on Saturday, but the Dunnville Mudcats goalie stopped almost everything that came his way.
McDonnell stopped 52 shots in a 4-2 Mudcats victory over their county rivals.
Nate Shirton and Harrison Langerak gave the Mudcats a first-period lead. Spencer Cornick inched the Hawks to within a goal in the second period.
Rylan Jacob and Jack MacDonald added to the Mudcats’ cause in the third period, with Nick Bonitatibus responding for the Hawks.
Friday in Dunnville, Evan Lacroix and Shirton gave the Mudcats a lead they couldn’t keep, as they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Niagara Riverhawks.
William Mahoney scored twice in the second period to tie things up, before Alex Pettipiece and Jayden Engberts gave the Riverhawks the lead in the third.
Also on Friday, Jason Horvat scored the lone goal in the Hawks’ 5-1 loss to the Grimsby Peach Kings.
Ben Switzer scored twice for the Peach Kings, while Quinn McIntosh, Maxime Pleau and Freddy Teeple added one each.
The Mudcats’ weekend split gives them a 7-9-2 record in the PJHL Bloomfield Division. Friday they host the Port Dover Sailors at 7:30pm.
The Hawks now drop to 3-13-1-2. Thursday they take on the Dundas Blues on the road, before hosting the Riverhawks on Saturday. Both games are at 7:30pm.
Jack Gee scored the eventual game-winner, and added a assist, to lead the Norwich Merchants to a 4-2 win over the Burford Bulldogs in Provincial Junior hockey League Doherty Division action Friday.
The night was also a special one, with the Merchants honouring Simcoe Jake Luke.
Tanner Mitton and Connor MacPhee exchanged goals in the first period, before Nathan DaSilva gave the Merchants another lead in the second.
Gee’s marker midway through the period proved to be the winner, before Jake Phalen and Kyle Brezinski exchanged goals.
Austin Storm got the win between the Merchants’ pipes, making 33 saves, while Richie Little stopped 41 shots in his debut for the Bulldogs.
Prior to playing for the Bulldogs, Little played for the Ayr Centennials, Lambeth Lancers, Delhi Travellers, Paris Mounties and Brantford 99ers (GOJHL).
Saturday, the Merchants dropped a 4-1 decision to the Woodstock Navy Vets.
Owen Koot scored the lone goal for the Merchants, while Carver Monroe made 58 saves.
Kyle Baker, Nolan Brett, Jonah Jacksteit, and Christian Pelley scored for the Vets. Graeme Noye got the win with a 22 stop effort.
Also on Saturday, the Bulldogs got off to a great start thanks to Thomas Morgan’s goal 30 seconds into the game. Unfortunately that ‘s all they could muster in a 8-1 loss to the Tavistock Braves.
Nathan Yeck and Zach Gladding scored two goals each for the Braves, while singles went to Drew Gerth, Ryan Suljak, Ian Glendinning, and Josh Halgerman.
The Bulldogs are still winless at 0-17-1-1 and take on the Wellesley Applejacks Friday at 7:45pm on the road, before returning home Saturday to host the Merchants at 7:20pm.
The weeknd split gives the Merchants a 5-11-3-1 record and move ahead of the Hespeler Shamrocks in fifth place in the PJHL’s Doherty Division. They are also on the road Friday, taking on the New Hamburg Firebirds at 7:30pm.