Patriots wrap up regular season with loss, playoffs start Saturday
MOUNT FOREST — The Mount Forest Patriots suffered a 6-1 loss to the Mitchell Hawks to complete their Provincial Junior Hockey League’s regular season schedule Tuesday at the Mount Forest and District Sports Complex.
The game was meaningless in the standings as both teams had already been locked into their final place in the standings, Mitchell in second and Mount Forest in third.
Mitchell led 1-0 at the end of the first period and 4-0 after the second.
Isaac Fazackerley scored at 12:32 of the third period for the Patriots with help from Liam Francis and Derick Acheson.
Nick Jung and Kyle Spence each had a goal and two assists for Mitchell while Drew Gross, Joe McCarthy, Derek Elliott and Garrett James also scored.
The Hawks outshot the Patriots 38-31 and went 1-for-3 on their power play while Mount Forest was scoreless on its two power plays.
Jake McKee started in net for the Patriots and he made eight saves in the first period. Tyler Reiner played the second and third periods and was charged with the loss. He made 24 saves. Wyatt Nicholson played the entire game for Mitchell and made 30 saves.
The Walkerton Hawks finished atop the Pollock Division standings at 29-6-1 and was followed by Mitchell (24-11-1), Mount Forest (17-17-2), Kincardine Bulldogs (16-17-3), Hanover Barons (17-19-0), Wingham Ironmen (11-22-3) and Goderich Flyers (5-27-4).
Walkerton gets a bye in the divisional quarter-finals while the best-of-seven series pit Mitchell against Goderich, Mount Forest against Wingham and Kincardine against Hanover. Mitchell, Mount Forest and Kincardine will have home-ice advantage.
The Patriots are to start their series with Wingham Saturday at home. Game time is 8 p.m. Game 2 is to go at Wingham’s Wescast Complex Sunday at 1 p.m. The third game is slated to go at Mount Forest Feb. 8 at 8 p.m. while the fourth game is scheduled to be played at Wingham Feb. 10 at 8 p.m. Game 5 is set for Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. at Mount Forest, while Game 6 is to go Feb 12. at 6 p.m. at Wingham. The seventh game is scheduled for Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. at Mount Forest. The fifth, sixth and seventh games will only be played if they’re needed to decide a series winner.
The Patriots and Ironmen met six times during the regular season with Mount Forest winning four games and Wingham winning one. The teams tied their first meeting 2-2 Sept. 17 at Mount Forest. In their other games at Mount Forest, the Patriots won 3-1 Nov. 12 and 6-2 Dec. 10. At Wingham, the Ironmen won 2-1 Oct. 21 while the Patriots won 3-1 Oct. 30 and 5-1 Jan. 21.
Mount Forest finished the regular season with five players — Michael Stefanelli (30), Brendon Aitken (28), Shawn Lantz (28), Ryan Maksymyk (25) and Jack Vautour (25) — recording 20 points or more. Stefanelli and Aitken had 15 goals apiece while Maksymyk had 12 and Vautour was the only other Patriot in double figures in goals with 10.
The Ironmen had two players reach 20 points as Logan Tolton and Brad Randson each had 20. Tolton had a team-high 12 goals while Ethan Long scored 10 times.
While the Ontario Hockey Association’s junior C leagues were combined into one huge league this season, the playoffs remain the same. The champions of the Pollock Division, formerly known as the Western Ontario Junior C Hockey League, will meet the winners of the Carruthers Division, formerly the Georgian Bay Mid-Ontario Junior C Hockey League, for the North Conference championship in what will be a PJHL quarter-final. The champions of the four conferences (North, East, West and South) advance to the PJHL semifinals and the semifinal winners will battle in the Schmalz Cup final.
- Guelph Sports Journal