By Darryl G. Smart
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind for Nolan McDowell.
After making his debut in the Port Dover Sailors crease Friday, the 18-year-old from Edmonton got his first Provincial Junior Hockey League win Sunday. He then followed that up Monday by making his Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League debut and earned his first victory with the Caledonia Pro Fit Corvairs.
“We’re pretty excited to have Nolan,” Sailors coach Mike Walker said. “He’s played two games for us so far and has been a brick wall. The room has welcomed Nolan with open arms and we’re excited to see what he and Eric Lorenz are able to do together.”
McDowell, who came to the Sailors via the Grande Prairie Storm of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, made 33 saves in his Sailors debut Friday in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Grimsby Peach Kings.
Austin Hall and Ben Mason scored for the Sailors while Ethan Dabbs, Holden Aarlaht netted regulation time goals for the Peach Kings. Ben Switzer was the overtime hero.
On Sunday, Mcdowell was busy again, this time making 40 saves, while his new teammates showed that ability to battle back after a loss to beat the Glanbrook Rangers 5-3 at home.
The Rangers got off to a great start thanks to Brennan Ireland and Boyd Brandon’s first-period goals. Mason and Zachary Johnson got the Sailors going in the second period, before Cooper Hood again gave the Rangers the lead.
But the Sailors’ resilience showed again in the third period, with Dylan Stroud, Michael Vanacker and Nick D’Agostino scoring goals to secure the victory.
“It’s always been in Port Dover’s nature to battle through adversity,” Walker said. “This year it’s slightly different. We have a team of guys who are confident in themselves and trust one another. In my opinion there hasn’t been a team this close in the room yet. Our progress so far has shown we’re getting better. We still need some improvements with our starts but we seem to be headed in the right direction. We could be a very dangerous team if they come to compete for a full 60 minutes.”
With their 9-6-1 record, the Sailors hit the road Saturday to take on the Hagersville Hawks at 7:30pm, before hosting the Niagara Riverhawks Sunday at 2pm.
NOTE: In Monday’s GOJHL debut with the Corvairs, McDowell made 23 saves in a 4-1 win over the Thorold Blackhawks.
Davison leads Mudcats in battle of Haldimand
Austin Davison turned aside 35 of 36 shots, while Rylan Jacob and Brayden Flint scored five minutes apart in the second period to lift the Dunnville Mudcats to a 2-1 win over the Hagersville Hawks Friday in PJHL Bloomfield Division action.
Alastair Irvine scored the game’s first goal to give the Hawks a lead early in the second period.
Tanner Richardson made 20 stops in the loss.
The win improves the Mudcats record to 5-7-2. Friday they face the Grimsby Peach Kings on the road at 7:30pm.
The Hawks were at home Saturday, and had trouble scoring again in a 4-1 loss to the Peach Kings.
Mike Vicente scored the lone Hawks goal.
Reid Woodcock, Dylan Cummings, Blake Venneri and Caleb Shorthouse all scored for the Peach Kings.
The Hawks now sit at 2-10-0-2 and hit the road Thursday against the Niagara Riverhawks, before hosting the Port Dover Sailors Saturday. Both games are at 7:30pm.
Merchants long strong in win
The Norwich Merchants are beginning to find their groove.
Thanks to a 9-4 win over the Hespeler Shamrocks Friday at home, the Merchants have now won three of their last four games in PJHL Doherty Division action.
Outshooting the Shamrocks 40-28, Hayden McLean led the Merchants with a pair of goals. Jack Gee, Austin Forsyth, Kyle Brezinski, Reid Lazou, Jeremy Marsh, Tanner Mitton, and Brady VanYmeren all scored one goal each.
Callum Harvey led the Shamrocks with two goals, while Matthew Diebolt and Owen Fischer added one apiece.
Carver Monroe made 28 stops in the win.
The Merchants improved to 4-9-1-1 in the PJHL Doherty Division and have a busy weekend with three games in three days. Friday they are on the road to face the Tavistock Braves, before hosting the Woodstock Navy Vets Saturday. Both of those games are at 7:30pm. Sunday the Merchants are on the road again, this time against the Shamrocks at 3:30pm.
Tough weekend for Bulldogs
It was a tough weekend for the Burford Bulldogs in PJHL Doherty Division action.
Friday they were outshot 37-15 in a 11-0 loss to the Tavistock Braves.
Nathan Yeck did most of the damage scoring four times, while Carson Gebauer added a pair. Marc Dianne, Owen Rahn, Patrick Vulgan, Drew Gerth, and Will Schlotzhauer netted one each.
Jeffrey Kernichan earned the shutout.
Saturday, things didn’t get much better, with the Woodstock Navy Vets skating away with a 10-3 win.
Isaiah Ilao, Chase Machin and Carter Murphy scored for the Bulldogs.
Christian Pelley had a hat trick for the Vets to lead the way, while Ben Feijo, Caden Bower, Braeden Nelson, Jonah Jacksteit, Lakin Hendry, Patrick Klazer and Kyle Baker added one goal each.
The Bulldogs drop to 0-14-1-1 and hope to get that all-important first win of the season Saturday at home against the New Hamburg Firebirds at 7:20pm.