Mitchell Fox February 12, 2017
The sixth game of the Winter season for the Streetsville Stingers came against West Hill, a team that they had faced before, but not for a while. The Stingers were in need of a win because of the current situation with the standings.
The game started and it was impossible to tell what would happen next. Right away, the puck went back and forth between the zones. The goalies faced little action as neither team could get a good shooting opportunity. One problem was that he puck kept stopping suddenly because of water from the zamboni. This lead to many “fans” on the puck and a number of mistakes on the breakout. Both teams were battling hard but the Stingers back check was especially good. The only concern was that many of the forwards were already tired by the time they got possession. This lead to them getting caught on the rush. Eventually, this caused a penalty. Cole slashed a West Hill defenseman on the hand and the play continued. The puck was brought into the corner and Evan went in to battle with a West Hill forward. That is when things got bad. He went in too hard and he ended up hitting the guy from behind. It was not on purpose but it was an instant penalty and an ejection for Evan. With the Stingers down to five defensemen, the three man penalty kill started. Brendan, the goalie had to make a number of saves including two that came on hard slap shots. The Stingers positioning on the penalty kill was good but there was almost no pressure on the defensemen. The penalties ended and the Stingers were eager to take advantage of the fact that it was back to even strength. Almost instantly after the faceoff, Aiden took a hard shot from the slot and found the netting. After this, the Stingers focus seemed to be lacking. Thus, the coaches decided to change up the lines. A minute or so later, the period ended with a score of 1-0 in favour of the Stingers. It was a good period but West Hill had more chances and the Stingers were down a man.
The second period started and it was clear that the Stingers were not going at full speed. The forwards were not forechecking well and the entire team seemed tired. Luckily, it didn’t seem to matter. After a nice passing play, Cole got a nice shot on goal. Aiden picked up the rebound and buried his second of the night. On the next shift, the Stingers added to their lead once again. The puck was passed back to Trent at the point and he fired a hard wrist shot from the point. He found the five hole and the scoreboard changed to show the Stingers 3-0 lead. West Hill tried to come back with aggressiveness but only succeeded in getting a free trip to the penalty box. The Stingers powerplay came out exactly as it had in the Winter season so far, not good. The chances were few and weak and West Hill managed to get substantial possession. At one point, Brendan had to make a diving glove save after a shot bounced awkwardly off of Trent’s foot or stick. The power play ended and the Stingers continued on in the same way as the rest of the game so far. Good, but not great. The effort and aggressiveness was good but they were not thinking enough in their own end. This meant that Brendan had to do a great job of following the puck on bad turnovers and in traffic in front of the net. These mistakes eventually lead to a penalty for Walker. The penalty kill was good, though. Cole got a nice chance and forced a faceoff in the West Hill zone. About thirty seconds later, Matthew put a shorthanded goal into the net. The penalty kill continued on in this great way. Even when West Hill did get the puck, the defence did a great job of forcing them into battles at the boards. Shane probably wasted forty-five seconds with good battles like this. The penalty kill ended and so did the period. It was 4-0 for the Stingers after a great second period.
The third period started and Dylan decided to try his luck. He took off on a breakaway after a bad change by West Hill. Just as he was about to shoot, a West Hill defenceman threw his stick and tripped Dylan. No penalty was called! Shortly after this, Trent was called for a weak tripping penalty. The penalty kill was good once again. The puck was cleared multiple times and West Hill did not take many shots on Brendan. After this, the Stingers got some great chances. There were three consecutive offensive faceoffs and each resulted in at least one good shot on goal. The Stingers did not stop there. Dylan and Danny S. took off on a two man rush and nearly scored after a great passing play. The passing, offense and forecheck had been great for the whole game so far and it was not stopping there. At one point, Cole and a West Hill forward got off-setting penalties. This meant that the lines were jostled once again. Fortunately, this had little effect on the Stingers. The offence and defence were both great and Brendan made the save on every shot that he faced. This mean that the game ended exactly as the second period had, 4-0 in favour of the team in orange.
It was a great game and it was not just because of good offense. The penalty kill, backcheck and overall defensive play along with Brendan’s goaltending helped bring the Stingers their first win of the Winter season. The question was, would it be enough to give them a chance in the playoffs or would they need to win in both of their last two games?