GRAVENHURST - They won’t be facing each other again this regular season, but the South Muskoka Shield is doing what it can to keep pace and potentially pass the Bracebridge Phantoms in the standings.
South Muskoka Shield captain Brandon Luksa practically spins the Rama Aces goalie out of his skates during the Gravenhurst-based club’s final home game of the regular season Feb. 1, in a 6-5 victory for the home team.
Photo by Richard Coburn
Two wins by the Gravenhurst-based Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League club this past weekend and a split by the Phantoms has the Shield now four points back of Bracebridge in the standings with four games left to play. Head coach and general manager Dallyn Telford said his team also has to be wary of another first-year expansion team, the Powassan Eagles, which is currently deadlocked with the Shield in the standings at 48 points apiece.
On Feb. 1, the Shield played their final home game of the regular season, a hotly contested matchup against the Rama Aces that saw South Muskoka topple Rama’s deck in a 6-5 win.
At the 6:30 mark of the first, Shield forward Jake Peterson got the scoreboard its first action on a power-play marker, followed less than a minute later by another power-play goal by Michael Gambacorta. Captain Brandon Luksa tallied unassisted shortly after, but a last-minute goal by the Aces took a 3-1 game into the second period. Rama came out dealing in the second, scoring twice in the first minute of play to tie the game at three-all.
The Shield responded with their third power-play goal of the night, credited to Brodie McDonald, followed shortly after by the 5-3 goal by Andrey Novikov to end the second.
Rama drew within one midway through the third, but Larry McShane scored the icing for the Shield and time ran off on the Aces, who mustered one more, but with less than a minute left on the clock for the 6-5 final.
On Feb. 2 the Shield started their season-ending road trip with a tight 4-2 victory over Bobcaygeon. It started out as another game for the special teams, with the Shield’s Luksa scoring first on the power play, followed by a short hander by Bobcaygeon. McShane put the shield up 2-1 to end the first, and in the second the teams traded goals for a 3-2 game heading into the third period. Novikov added the 4-2 marker midway through the third.
The Shield’s next games will be Feb. 8, starting at 7:30 p.m. in Rama then Feb. 9 at the Toronto Attack.