Fergus Thistles pull away early to take playoff opener
FERGUS – A four-goal run early in the game proved to be the difference as the Fergus Thistles opened the Ontario Junior C Lacrosse League playoffs with a 12-8 victory over the Halton Hills Bulldogs Saturday night at the Centre Wellington Sportsplex.
The Thistles scored the final two goals of the opening period for a 3-1 lead and then added a pair of goals in the first two minutes of the second to build their lead to four goals.
The hosts were up 7-2 at the end of the second period and netted two more goals early in the third before Halton Hills closed the gap with six goals later in the period. There were also three Fergus goals interdispersed among the Halton Hills third-period goals.
Nick Aitchison led the Thistles with three goals and four assists while Carter Hyndman scored twice. Single goals were netted by Brodie Schafer, J.J. Swanston, Sam MacDonald, Adam Lantz, Cameron Angst, Ryan Biggs and Trenton Hitchcock. Schafer and Swanston also had four assists apiece while MacDonald and Lantz had two each and Hyndman, Angst and Jacob Ristov had one each.
Cody Merritt, Zac Tarr and Jackson Webster tallied twice each for Halton Hills while Michael Holmes and Hayden Chokrev-Evans scored the other goals. Holmes and Chase Forsythe each had four assists while Merritt and Tarr had two each and Webster and goalkeeper Carter Browne each had one.
The Thistles were outshot 57-54 and both teams scored three power-play goals – Fergus on six power plays and Halton Hills on 11.
Tyson Reeves had 49 saves for the win in the Fergus net while Browne had 42 saves for Halton Hills.
The Thistles had completed the regular season third in the West Division at 11-5-0 while Halton Hills was sixth at 2-13-1. Fergus also took all three regular-season matches with the Bulldogs, winning 17-6 (May 31) and 18-5 (June 4) at home and 13-9 at Georgetown June 17.
Saturday’s game was the first for the Thistles since they wrapped up their regular season June 23. Halton Hills completed its regular season three days later.
Second game in the best-of-three series is set for Monday at Georgetown. Game time is 8 p.m.
If a third game is needed, it’s to be played Friday at the Centre Wellington Sportsplex starting at 8 p.m.
Thistles 12 Bulldogs 8
Halton Hills 1-1-6–8
- Guelph Sports Journal