Bradford Rattlers remain unbeaten against Shield
GRAVENHURST - The Bradford Rattlers remain the team to beat in the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League (GMHL) after putting the sting on the South Muskoka Shield Nov. 18.
The Shield's Jake Peterson kept the Bradford Rattlers on their toes Saturday.
Photo by Richard Coburn
It was the first of four matchups between the two clubs this season and the first of two in six days, as the Shield will get a shot at redemption this coming Saturday, Nov. 24 on home ice.
The 5-2 loss to the Rattlers also broke a five-game winning streak for the South Muskoka club, which picked up a win a night earlier, Nov. 17, playing host to the Sturgeon Falls Lumberjacks.
“We won that game, but we didn’t play as sharp as I would hope; I think maybe the guys were looking ahead to the Saturday night game against the Rattlers,” said head coach and general manager Dallyn Telford.
The 4-3 win over Sturgeon began with two early goals from Shield forwards Ian Hurst and Joey Verreijen before Sturgeon drew one late in the first. On the back of a power-play goal and an even-strength marker early in the second period, Sturgeon Falls took the lead 3-2 before the Shield’s Jake Peterson knotted things late with an unassisted marker.
The winner came midway through the third on another Shield power-play goal by Jalen Berning.
“We don’t take Sturgeon Falls lightly at all, they have some great talent, but we didn’t play as well as I thought we should,” Telford said. “I think our focus just wasn’t there for that game but we found a way to win.”
The weekend’s big test was in the undefeated Rattlers, who now stand at a perfect 19-0 following their 5-2 win over the Shield Sunday night.
“That was a tough game; we shot ourselves in the foot and Bradford is too good a team to get away with that,” Telford said. “We had some late penalties in the third and if you give them opportunities like that, it’s going to come back to bite you every time.”
The first period started off with the Rattlers scoring two goals in quick succession, leading into a second period that saw both teams put up a combined five goals, each of them on a power play.
The Rattlers struck first for a 3-0 lead just a minute into the frame before Shield defenceman Michael Gambacorta and forward Andrey Novikov got their club on the board with two. The Rattlers responded with two more power-play goals for a 5-2 game and final score, with no scoring in the third. Telford said his team had their chances to score but untimely penalties late in the game killed any momentum.
“We have to play more disciplined to beat a team like the Rattlers,” he said. “We failed to capitalize on our chances and the Rattlers capitalized on every chance we gave them.”
The Shield will get another chance at the undefeated Rattlers this coming Saturday, Nov. 24 on home ice, starting at 8 p.m. They will also face off against Lefroy at the Centennial Centre Nov. 23, starting at 8 p.m.
The split weekend leaves the Shield in fifth place in the GMHL, one point ahead of Rama and one point behind the Toronto Attack for fourth.