Patriots prevail in Game 7, off to Pollock final
MITCHELL – The Mount Forest Patriots completed their improbably comeback Thursday night when they downed the Mitchell Hawks 5-2 to win their Provincial Junior Hockey League Pollock Division semifinal.
The victory was the fourth in a row by the Patriots and gave them a 4-3 win in the best-of-seven series. They’ll advance to play the Walkerton Hawks in the division final.
The Patriots never trailed Thursday. They led 2-0 at the end of the first period and 3-1 after the second. After the first period, Mitchell twice got the gap down to a single goal but Mount Forest never gave up a tying goal.
The hosts scored 36 seconds into the second period and the Patriots re-established their two-goal advantage nine minutes later. Mitchell also narrowed the gap to one goal before the four-minute mark of the third, but the Patriots tallied 19 seconds later to regain their two-goal gap.
Mitchell outshot the Patriots 35-25 and both of its goals were power-play scores as the Hawks had six man-advantage situations in the game with four of them coming in the third period. Mount Forest was 1-for-5 on the power play.
Ryley Cribbin and Michael Stefanelli each had a goal and two assists for the Patriots while Blair Butchart had a goal and an assist and Brendon Aitken and Ostop Mostowy also scored. Spencer Holt and Ryan Maksymyk each had one assist.
Nathan Templeman and Nick Jung scored for Mitchell.
Mathieu Oullette picked up the win in net for Mount Forest while Wyatt Nicholson took the loss for Mitchell.
Dates for the Pollock final between Mount Forest and Walkerton have not been finalized. Walkerton finished first in the division at 29-6-1 while the Patriots were third at 17-17-2.
The teams met six times during the regular season and Walkerton won five of them. However, they only played once after the first week of November and that was a 6-3 win for the Hawks at Walkerton Jan. 20.
The Patriots won the first meeting of the season between the teams as they prevailed 3-2 in overtime at Walkerton Sept. 16. The Hawks won all the others – 11-3 at Mount Forest Oct. 1, 5-2 at Walkerton Oct. 14, 5-2 at Mount Forest Oct. 22 and 2-1 at Mount Forest Nov. 5.
Mount Forest has been busier in the playoffs as Thursday’s series-clinching win came in its 11th playoff game of the year as the Patriots swept the Wingham Ironmen 4-0 in the division quarter-finals. Walkerton has played four playoff games. The Hawks had a bye in the division quarter-finals and swept the Hanover Barons 4-0 in the division semifinals.
The winner of the division final will play the Carruthers Division champion in the North Conference final. The Stayner Siskins are awaiting an opponent in the Carruthers final after sweeping the Midland Flyers 4-0 in the division semifinals. The Alliston Hornets lead the other best-of-seven divisional semifinal 3-1 over the Penetang Kings with Game 5 set for Friday night at Alliston.
- Guelph Sports Journal