By Darryl G. Smart
Like many hockey players in Norfolk County, Jack Gee has always looked up to Dwayne Roloson.
On Friday, the Merchants forward had a front row seat as he and his teammates watched on as Roloson was inducted into the Provincial Junior Hockey League team’s Wall of Fame. To say it inspired Gee is an understatement. Gee scored two goals and one assist to lead the offence, as the Merchants got that all-important first win of the PJHL Doherty Division season with a 6-5 win over the Hespeler Shamrocks.
“Being part of Dwayne’s Wall of Fame ceremony was a great experience for me and my teammates,” Gee said. “It’s always a great honour to wear the same jersey as a guy like that. I’ve been lucky enough to be around him since I was young playing lacrosse with (his son) Brett and skating with both his boys at Rick Kowalsky skates in the summer, with Dwayne coming on the ice too. He’s a great guy to have around and has definitely made Norfolk proud over the years.”
The Shamrocks jumped out to a lead in the first period thanks to goals from Matthew Hayward, Josh Houston and Andrew Fulton. Austin Forsyth had the lone Merchants’ response.
Gee scored his first goal of the game in the second period to inch the Merchants within one.
And in the third period, Callum Harvey added to the Shamrocks lead, before the Merchants began to bounce back. Parker Noble scored twice, including the game-winner, while Gee and Brady Van Ymeren inched the Merchants closer. Fulton scored his second of the game to tie the game, setting up Noble’s heroics.
“We got off to a slow start but we never gave up and found a way to fight back and get the win,” Gee said. “It was nice to be able to score a couple goals followed by two big goals from Parker. It was great to get a win for the fans to make them keep coming back after our tough loss at our home opener.”
As for the young Merchants, Gee is optimistic about what he sees.
“I think we are very strong offensively and have four lines that can score every game,” Gee said. “As a team we need to continue to work on our defensive zone and not let so many goals against. Once we figure that out, more wins will come our way.”
Unfortunately Saturday that didn’t happen when the Merchants were on the road against the Tavistock Braves.
Logan Partlo scored twice and Gee added another goal in a 5-3 loss to the Braves.
Ian Glendinning led the Braves with two goals, while Zach Gladding, Nathan Bartlett, and Drew Gerth scored one goal each.
Now 1-3, Gee and the Merchants host the Wellesley Applejacks Friday at 8pm before hitting the road Saturday against the New Hamburg Firebirds at 7:30pm.
The Burford Bulldogs are slowly but surely finding their feet in the Provincial Junior hockey League Doherty Division. Over the weekend, the Bulldogs dropped a pair of games.
Friday night on the road, Bulldogs goalie Shendon Smith turned aside 52 shots in a losing effort, while the Woodstock Navy Vets skated away with a 6-0 win.
Caden Bower led the Vets with a pair of goals, while Drew Mullett, Mack Easter, Christian Pelley, and Kyle Baker pitched in with one each.
Graeme Noye earned the shutout making 17 stops.
The next night at home, the Bulldogs got off to a great start, but four goals in the third period gave the New Hamburg Firebirds a 5-3 victory.
Chase Machin, Derrick DaSilva, and Thomas Morgan gave the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes, before Alexandr Potp scored twice in the third period, while Matt Domm and Josh Vale completed the comeback. Vale scored his first goal of the night in the first period.
At 0-4, the Bulldogs head on the road this weekend. Friday they go up against the Tavistock Braves for a 7:30pm game, before playing the Wellesley Applejacks Saturday at 7:45pm.
Matt Watson and Tanner Richardson had a good old goaltending duel Saturday night in Hagersville.
With each goalie only giving up a goal, the Hagersville Hawks and Dundas Blues played to a 1-1 tie in Provincial Junior Hockey League Bloomfield Division action.
Brendan Sullivan gave the Hawks a lead 49 seconds into the game, before JD McNeil tied things up 58 seconds into the third period.
Watson turned aside 26 shots for the Blues and Richardson made 22 saves for the Hawks.
Now at 1-1-0-1, the Hawks play the Dunnville Mudcats Friday on the road at 7:30pm, before hosting the Grimsby Peach Kings Saturday at 7:30pm.
Daniel Vella was the overtime hero Friday, as the Glanbrook Rangers slipped by the Dunnville Mudcats 2-1 in Provincial Junior Hockey League Bloomfield Division action.
Noah Bourdon opened the scoring for the Mudcats in the second period, before Joel Wallace tied things up with two minutes to go in regulation time.
Austin Davison was fantastic in net for the Mudcats making 33 saves, while Mitchell Robinson got the win with a 20 stop effort.
The Mudcats are now 0-2-1-0 and head on the road against the Niagara Riverhawks Thursday at 7:30pm, before hosting county rival Hagersville Hawks Friday at 7:30pm.
PORT DOVER SAILORS
The Port Dover Sailors fell short this weekend.
Short-staffed on Friday, the Sailors dropped a 6-1 decision to the Grimsby Peach Kings in Provincial Junior Hockey League Bloomfield Division action.
The Peach Kings got goals from Carter Bouwers, Maxim Ljuboja, Maxime Pleau, Quinn McIntosh, Blake Venneri, and Ethan Dabbs.
Kiefer Binkley netted the lone Sailors goal.
Sunday at home, the Sailors gave up three goals in the first period to seal their fate in a 5-2 loss to the Niagara Riverhawks.
Michael Vanacker and Matt Heilema scored second-period goals for the Sailors.
Nick Duguid led the Riverhawks with two goals, while Michael Coyle, Keagan Thomson, and Jayden Engberts added one each.
Eric Lorenz made 30 stops in a losing effort, while Bryce Frechette got the win making 29 stops.
The 2-2 Sailors take on the Dundas Blues Thursday at 7:30pm on the road. Sunday they host the Glanbrook Rangers at 2pm.