HUNTSVILLE - Two games.
Huntsville’s Erik Macpherson (right) lines up his numerical counterpart for the Penetang Kings during Sunday’s game.
PHOTO COURTESY OF DEBBIE BRADLEY PHOTOGRAPHY
Two very different results.
This sums up the first weekend in the Georgian Bay Mid-Ontario Junior C Hockey League as the Huntsville Otters began play this past weekend.
The Otters started the season off in fine form, winning 5-1 in Penetang against the Kings on Friday night to record their first win in its first game of the season.
That euphoria lasted a scant two days, as Huntsville was humbled 8-2 by that same Penetang team in front of a reported 400 fans at the Don Lough Arena Sunday afternoon.
Head coach Monty Clouthier said he was still proud of his team, adding that the Otters played five good periods of hockey, noting that the one period “cost us two points for the whole weekend.”
“We had one bad period of hockey. We had 24 minutes in penalties in the second period alone,” Clouthier said. “That just takes everything out of you. That just killed us. One bad period really hurt us. We did come out in the third and played great, which is a good sign … they turned it around.”
Huntsville trailed 1-0 after the first period in Penetang on Friday night, but the team rebounded after that early deficit. Carter Tracey led the scoring with three goals and two assists, while Brodie Muckler had a goal and three assists. JD Sterne had one goal and Ben Muckler added an assist to round out the scoring.
Goalie Landen Peleikis was solid in getting the win for the Otters in goal, making 30 saves.
“We played three solid periods in Penetang,” Clouthier said. “We knew they would come out physical and they did … we beat them at that game and at the skills game. We were very disciplined and they were the undisciplined team. We outworked them.”
The Otters did not seem to show any nervousness playing their first regular season game at home, and were the better team of the two in the first 20 minutes of play.
Penetang took the lead on a shorthanded goal at 5:47 of the first. Sterne fell at the blueline while the Otters were on a powerplay and the Kings player snapped a shot between the legs of Peleikis for a 1-0 lead. That lead was short-lived as Jay Dix tied the game at 1-1 when he shot the puck underneath the Penetang keeper’s arm at 7:55. However, it’s what’s on the scoreboard that matters in the end, and the Kings led 2-1 after the first, courtesy of a late period marker by the visitors.
The second period was all Kings, as Penetang fired 23 shots at Peleikis in the period, beating the Bracebridge native five times. He was shaky during the game, recording only 10 stops on 16 shots. Not that the young net-minder could be faulted for many of the goals, as his teammates did little to keep the larger Penetang skaters from dominating the period. The period featured undisciplined play by the Huntsville players, which allowed the Kings to score four powerplay goals. Three Penetang goals came within a five-minute span. Replacement Nathan Pokocky had a better time than Peleikis the rest of the game, making 20 saves while allowing two more Penetang goals.
Clouthier said that despite the outing, Peleikis is scheduled to get the start on Friday night when the team takes on the Midland Flyers.
“I can’t fault him on all the goals. When they are doing that many shots and they are good powerplay opportunities, it hurts you. Everyone still has the confidence in him, and Nathan came in and did a great job.”
Captain Ben Muckler notched his first of the year at 14:45 of the third, and Penetang was able to score one more before the end of the game.