A pair of wins move Lions to top of standings at Christmas break.
MORRISBURG – Back-to-back wins before the Christmas break have put the South Dundas Lions into first place in the Major-Midget B Rep league.
The team’s first win of the week came at the expense of the Kemptville Panthers on December 19th in Kemptville.
Josh Dawson gave the Panthers an early 1-0 lead scoring on Lions goalie Sam Waytowich. Less than five minutes later, Nicholas Brugmans tied the game for the Lions off the set up by line mate Justin Shay.
The Lions took the lead 2-1 later in the first period when Shay and Colin Minish set up Jonah Bennis for his first goal of the game. That lead was short-lived as the Panthers tied the game less than a minute later. The teams started the second period tied 2-2.
Kemptville retook the lead in the opening minute of the second period when Justin Jeffrey found a way around Waytowich. Panthers led the Lions 3-2.
It wasn’t until the final three minutes of the period that the Lions tied the game at three goals apiece. Joey Hannaford set up Lucas Bennis for the goal.
Jonah Bennis’ unassisted goal three minutes into the third period gave the Lions a 4-3 lead. That lead quickly evaporated 30 seconds later when Jack Johnson tied the game for the Panthers.
Bryce Bradford and Lucas Bennis connected with Brugmans for the game winning goal with 11;48 left in the game. The Lions held on to win the close game 5-4.
South Dundas’ second win of the week was settled in the final second of the game against the ninth place South Stormont Selects.
The Selects went on the scoreboard in the opening play of the game, when Zachary Adams put the puck past Waytowich in goal. This was Waytowich’s third start in a row for the Lions. South Stormont led South Dundas 1-0.
Emerson Lalonde would make it 2-0 Selects with 33 seconds left in the opening period.
The Lions pushed back early in the second period, when Curtis Barkley and Brugmans set up Shay’s goal. South Dundas trailed South Stormont 2-1 for the balance of the period.
The Selects made it 3-1 early in the third period. The Lions scrambled back midway through the third period with the Selects testing the team’s defences. A battle in front of the Lions goal had Waytowich make a few critical saves that kept the Lions alive in the game.
A late game charge led by Nolan Brown, Lucas Bennis and Jonah Bennis pushed deep into the Selects’ end. Brown tied the game for the Lions with 2:26 showing on the clock.
As the clock wound down, it appeared that the Lions would pick up their first tie game of the season.
A mad scramble at the Selects net with seconds left was the game winner for the Lions. With only 0.4 seconds on the clock, Travis McInnis scored the game winner. Lions defeat the Selects 4-3.
The wins put the defending champions back into first place with a record of 12 wins, 2 losses for 24 points, one point ahead of the South Grenville Rangers. The Char-Lan Rebels sit in third place in the league while the Perth-Lanark Wings are in fourth.
“I think we’ve done quite well,” head coach Jamie Smith told The Leader after the game. “It is a pretty competitive league, which is nice to see. Working hard is key in every game.”
Smith added that going into the second half, two players (Dean Lapier and Ben Fingler) will return to the ice after the break.
“I must say our affiliated players have really helped us out so far this season,” Smith said.
So far this season, Kendrew Byers, Brody Smail, Owen Fetterly, Jaymen Heuff, Ryan Wiltshire and Owen Goulet have played on the team as affiliated players.
This season, only the top four teams in the league make the playoffs. Smith said the key to making the playoffs is to stay focussed.
“There is no room for error of slacking off. If we continue to work hard, play as a team and stay disciplined, we will accomplish our goal.”
He added that on their white board before every game are three key words, commitment, hard work, and discipline.
“We know if we go by these words every game, success will happen.”
The Lions return to the ice January 10th to take on the Perth-Lanark Wings at the Morrisburg Arena.