Otters’ slide hits four games
Huntsville drops to last place; team still plans to make changes
Erik MacPherson of the Huntsville Otters buries the puck in the net after eluding Penetang Kings defenceman Austin Fischer and deking goalie Jake Francis on Nov. 9 at the Penetanguishene Memorial Community Centre. The second-period goal was one of the few bright spots for the visiting Otters in a 9-4 loss.
HUNTSVILLE - The good news this week for the Huntsville Otters?
There is no place to go but up.
The 4-13 Otters woke up Monday morning with statistically the worst record in the Georgian Bay Junior C Hockey League, tied with Fergus with eight points, but trailing the Devils in overall winning percentage .235 to .250, because Huntsville has played one more game.
The situation was created after Otters dropped their third and fourth straight games on the weekend, losing 9-4 Saturday night in Penetang to the Kings and 7-3 Sunday on the road to the Caledon Golden Hawks.
Huntsville has scored 10 goals during the losing slide, while allowing 35 goals.
Saturday’s game in Penetang presented an opportunity for the Otters to hopefully keep the Kings within striking distance for second place in the league’s North Division.
Prior to the start of the weekend, Penetang was only four points ahead of the Otters in the division, and a Huntsville win would have maintained a close, reachable gap between the two teams.
But the Kings, fresh off a 6-4 win over Fergus the night before, outscored their guests 4-1 in the first period Saturday. The Otters were down 2-0 when Jay Dix scored at 7:21 to bring Huntsville to within one goal.
Despite two more first-period goals by the Kings to restore their two-goal cushion, Huntsville battled back in the second, on unassisted goals by Erik Macpherson (shorthanded) and Carter Tracey. The Kings would score before the end of the frame to make it 5-3.
That lead increased to 9-3 as Penetang scored four times before the halfway point of the final period. Dix counted his second of the night at 15:10 to round out the game’s scoring.
Huntsville goalie Landan Peleikis faced 47 Penetang shots in the contest.
Otters’ head coach Monty Clouthier said the game was actually much closer than the scoresheet indicated.
“They were never dominating us. We played an all right game. We got in two good periods again and then we got into penalty trouble and some undisciplined stuff in the third. We got some calls against us, like being assessed a single man fight, which I never heard of before. They only called our guy for fighting but the other guy was fighting too, and we ended up getting nine minutes for that one,” he said. “It was a very different refereed game that night.”
Huntsville was in the game against the Hawks Sunday until the final period, when the hosts reeled off five goals to one for Huntsville.
Brandon Quan opened the scoring at 8:44 of the first but the Hawks managed to tie the game up just more than two minutes later.
The Otters were trailing 2-1
late in the second when Ben Muckler scored one of his two goals on the night with less than two minutes to go in the middle frame. He notched his second midway through the third to make the score 5-3 before the Hawks beat Peleikis for two more.
“We should have won that game,” Clouthier said. “We hit three posts and played well defensively. We stayed out of the box and got a lot of shots. We gave up a couple of shorthanded goals that worked against us. They got three really funny goals against us and Landan didn’t have a great weekend.”
Clouthier said that the team had hoped to make some personnel changes prior to this past weekend, but the deals were not consummated. He said that talks are still ongoing with other junior teams about bringing in some new faces, adding that those moves could still happen this week.
“We are still working on something,” he said. “We have some irons in the fire for some deals.”
Clouthier said the team released defenceman Brice Parsons last week. The 19-year-old had no points and 22 penalty minutes in seven games with the Otters.
The Otters are in Midland on Friday night to face the North Division-leading Flyers before returning home Sunday afternoon to host Penetang.