BRACEBRIDGE - It took a period to find their feet but the Bracebridge Phantoms exploded offensively and held tight on defence to bull over the Toronto Moose this weekend.
The 9-2 home win gave the Phantoms their 10th win of the season and third straight, planting them firmly in sole possession of third place in the Greater Metro Junior A hockey league standings, just one point back of Temiscaming for second seed overall. Not bad for a first-year team.
“Things have gone along fairly well so far for us,” said team general manager and owner Tim Dickieson.
“But we have to keep in mind like in any sport, the wheels can come off at any time so we have to keep focused.”
It was a fast-paced affair Saturday night as both goalies got an early taste of rubber with nearly 30 shots on net shared between the two clubs. Both were up to the task however, and the scoreboard remained blank through the first frame.
Come the second period, the Phantoms were able to pick up the pace even more, peppering the crease with 20 shots and finding twine five times. The first came only seconds into the frame when Phantom forward Brodie McDonald opened the scoring, followed by Shawn Watson and Michal Spacek only 15 seconds apart for a 3-0 lead midway through the second. The Moose drew one, only to see the Phantoms respond with two more quick goals for a 5-1 lead heading into the third period.
Bracebridge heaped on four more goals in the third, including one on the power play and gave up one of their own to claim the 9-2 win.
Phantom goalie Jesse Michel picked up the win and the game’s first star, having stopped 32 attempts on 34 shots. Watson took second star with a natural hat trick.
Although now in striking distance of the second seed and 10 wins under their belts in 13 games, Dickieson isn’t getting too wrapped up in the early season success.
“We’ve got those 10 wins based on skill, but overall I’m still not thrilled with the way we play as a team,” he said. “There’s a lot of individual success, but we need to play sharper as a team and be more disciplined.”
“We’re very pleased with how the season has gone but we need to keep focused and disciplined and finish our games better,” he added. He pointed out each of the team’s three losses have come by only one point, including a 1-0, last-second loss to the first-place Bradford Bulls team that has gone a perfect 15-0 to open the season.
The Phantoms will play host to their closest rivals, the South Muskoka Shield, Saturday night, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m., then get a bit of a break before taking their home ice again Nov. 10 against Mattawa.