GRAVENHURST - With two more wins under their belts, the South Muskoka Shield keeps climbing the ladder.
South Muskoka Shield captain (#14) Brandon Luksa gets a shot high over op of the Rama Aces’ goalie Nov. 30 in a crucial 6-5 win for the Gravenhurst-based team. Two weekend wins put the local club into third place over all in the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League.
Photo by Richard Colburn
After a slow start to the season and a losing record through the first 10 games, the Shield has put together a solid run and now finds themselves in a tie with the Bracebridge Phantoms for third spot overall in the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League (GMHL) with 30 points in 23 games.
It wasn’t an easy win Nov. 30 to kick off the weekend of play in Rama against the Aces, with the Shield having to fight back to claim the win 6-5. Rama went up 2-0 with about five minutes left in the first period before the Shield’s captain Brandon Luksa broke ice for South Muskoka on a power play for a 2-1 game. With less than a minute to go the frame, however, the Aces reclaimed their two-goal advantage, scoring short-handed against the Shield for a 3-1 start to the second period.
Again, it took the bulk of the second period for the scoring to start up, with South Muskoka forward Larry McShane pulling his club to 3-2 with about five minutes left and Brodie McDonald finally knotting the game at three-all with a little more than a minute remaining in the middle frame.
Into the third, the Shield wasted no time in claiming their first lead with Luksa scoring his second of the day less than 10 seconds from the opening puck drop. A few minutes of play later, Cody Cesarz mounted a two-point advantage for the Shield but that quickly slipped away. Right around the halfway mark of the third, Rama made good on a power-play opportunity to draw within one, then only seconds later, made the tying goal for a 5-5 game.
But the Aces didn’t hold the right cards that night and a late penalty gave the Shield a man advantage and all the opportunity they needed, as Donny Danroth came through with the late power-play marker for a 6-5 win.
The following night, Dec. 1, playing in Shelburne, the Shield kept the momentum going for a 4-2 win.
The Shelburne Red Wings gave first light to the scoreboard only eight seconds into the game but the Shield defence settled down and held tight until Jake Peterson, followed by Danroth, gave the Gravenhurst-based club a 2-1 advantage heading into the second period. Cesarz pushed the lead to 3-1 with the only goal of the second period, while the Red Wings opened the first 30 seconds of the third with their second goal for a tense 3-2 battle. Danroth put the game out of reach late in the third with the 4-2 final goal.
The Shield play their next game at home, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. against Bobcaygeon then hit the road to Temiscaming Dec. 9 for a 2 p.m. afternoon start.
The two wins give the Shield 30 points in their first 23 games, good enough to tie the Bracebridge Phantoms, at 30 points in 19 games, for third overall.