Mohawks fall behind Hamilton in conference quarter-final
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
FERGUS – Bring out the clichés, they apply for the Elora Mohawks now.
It’s do or die Thursday night at Hamilton. It’s now or never. There’s no tomorrow.
The Mohawks fell behind 2-1 in their best-of-five Ontario junior B lacrosse league conference quarter-final with the Hamilton Bengals when the Bengals won 9-8 Tuesday night at the Centre Wellington Sportsplex.
“We weren’t ready to play at the start of the game,” Elora coach Kyle Goss said. “We got down 4-1 and we worked real hard to get back. We were feeling real good going into the third, but we just couldn’t hold on.”
Hamilton scored the winner with the goaltender pulled in favour of an extra attacker and 1.8 seconds to go in regulation time.
After a flat first period that saw Hamilton jump to a 4-1 lead, the Mohawks rallied to go up 7-5 by the midway mark of the second period, then ran into penalty trouble. They were short 5-on-3 twice in the game.
“We addressed that in the (second) intermission about not taking penalties and then we went out there and took penalties,” Goss said. “Plain and simple.”
The Mohawks had trouble keeping the ball out of their own net when they had the manpower advantage as they surrendered three shorthanded goals.
“All year long we basically let one of them in every game,” Goss said. “It’s a killer, it really is. We’ve worked on it. We’ve changed personnel. We worked on it again and it just seems to always bite us in the butt at least once and it’s unfortunate.”
Special teams played a big role in Hamilton’s win as the Bengals also had three goals on eight power plays.
Kurtis Woodland had two goals and two assists for the Mohawks while Ryan Mueller also scored twice. Single goals were added by Dawson Bolger, Dean Sealey, Cody Stannard and Hyatt Welsh. Klayton Hoelscher had three assists while Eric Egan and Welsh had two apiece and Dawson Bolger, Nathan Bolger, Landon Kells, Mueller and Stannard had one each.
Trevor Barrett struck for four goals and two assists for Hamilton while Jordan Gillis had two goals and an assist. Getting one goal each were Tanner Brenneke, Dawson Brown and Sam English while Brenneke, English, Luke Robinson and Dylan Sprentz each had one assist.
The Mohawks outshot the Bengals 47-32 and Elora went 2-for-6 on its power play.
Fourth game of the series is scheduled for Thursday at 8 p.m. at Hamilton’s Dave Andreychuk Arena.
“We’ve just got to regroup,” Goss said. “It’s a playoff series, it’s not a playoff win two. It’s win three and our guys need to bounce back. They need to dig deep and they need to realize if they want it or not. At the end of the day, the team that wants it more is going to win on Thursday night. We can do it and I hope it is us.”
The Mohawks are looking for their first playoff series win since they defeated the Orangeville Northmen 3-1 in the Western Conference semifinals in 2011.
Since then they’ve lost 3-1 to the Six Nations Rebels in the conference final in 2011, 3-1 to the London Blue Devils in the first round in 2012, 3-0 to the Niagara Thunderhawks in the first round in both 2013 and 2014 and 3-1 to Windsor Clippers in the first round in each of the last two years.
If the Mohawks win Thursday, the fifth and deciding game of the series will be played Sunday at the Centre Wellington Sportsplex starting at 8 p.m.