By Darryl G. Smart
Heading down the stretch drive of the Ontario Junior Hockey League season, Brantford 99ers owner and general manager Darren DeDobbelaer knew he needed something to get him over the hump in a very tight West Division.
So last week during the Ontario Hockey Association signing deadline, he acquired forwards Nick McHugh and Curtis Abbott in hopes of bolstering the offence.
First he nabbed McHugh from the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Caledonia Corvairs.
McHugh was a force for the Corvairs, scoring 20 goals and 29 assists. Prior to landing in Caledonia this season, he spent four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with the Kitchener Rangers and Mississauga Steelheads.
In 217 OHL games, McHugh had 38 goals and 56 assists.
“We are happy to get Nick,” DeDobbelaer said. “He’s been great in Caledonia this season and we hope he continues that here.”
Abbott came via trade with the Whitby Fury, where he scored 10 goals and seven assists in 19 games. He’s also played with the Nepean Raiders, of the Central Canadian Hockey League, and scored one goal and two assists in 14 games.
It didn’t take long for Nick McHugh to get accustomed to his new Brantford 99ers teammates.
On Sunday in his first game, McHugh scored a short-handed goal in the second period to help the 99ers to a 5-4 win over the Milton Menace.
The Menace were exactly that in the first period at home Sunday, with Jordan Stock scoring twice and Chris Ishmael adding one.
Alexander Dameski was the lone 99ers response in the frame.
But in the second period, the 99ers took over. Michael Palandra scored twice, while McHugh and Jack Partridge added one each.
McKay Hayes scored the lone Menace goal.
With things tied up heading to the third period, Jacob Ball scored just over a minute and a half in, to give the 99ers some insurance.
On Tuesday, the Burlington Cougars had a hot start at home, scoring four times in the first period, en route to a 6-4 win over the 99ers.
Kyle Bollers responded twice in the second period, with Lucas Thompson adding a goal of his own.
But in the third period, the Cougars had an answer in the form of Brendan Rylott and Keanan Stewart.
Matthew Duarte scored the other 99ers goal.
The 99ers now drop to fifth in that tight OJHL West Division with a 20-19-0-1 record. They are three points back of fourth-place Georgetown Raiders Jr. A Hockey, and seven behind the third-place Buffalo Jr. Sabres (Official)
Thursday, they finally return home to take on the Menace at 7:30pm at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre.