Fergus Thistles slip by Wilmot to advance to West final
BADEN – The Fergus Thistles are into the Ontario Junior C Lacrosse League’s West Division final.
The Thistles scored the final three goals of the game to complete a rally from a four-goal deficit to edge the Wilmot Wild 7-6 in the fifth and deciding game of their West semifinal Sunday at the Wilmot Recreation Complex.
The Wild had led 4-0 at the end of the first period and 5-4 at the end of the second before scoring the first goal of the third.
The Thistles started their final comeback 49 seconds after Wilmot’s lone third period goal and they tied the score just under two minutes later.
Adam Lantz fired home the series winner with 37 seconds to go in regulation time.
The win capped a Fergus comeback that saw them take the best-of-five series despite dropping the first two games.
The Thistles received goals from seven players — Nick Aitchison, Carter Hyndman, Jacob Hayne, Brodie Schafer, J.J. Swanston, Alec Beaurogard and Lantz. Cameron Angst assisted on two of the goals while single assists were awarded to Schafer, Jake Bauman, Hyndman and Aitchison.
Hayden Berger scored twice for Wilmot while single goals were netted by Tyler Townsend, Derek Jensen, Blake Wideman and Ethan Warden. Dylan Kuntz and Tyler Nagy each had two goals for Wilmot while Jensen, Matt Wyman, Wideman, Warden. Colten Besse and Evan Girdler each collected one assist.
Wilmot outshot Fergus 48-44 and went 1-for-4 on its power play while the Thistles went 2-for-4.
Xavier DeMichele picked up the win with 40 saves while Tyson Reeves made two saves in the 31 seconds he played.
Mike Martin-Abel had 37 saves in the Wilmot net.
It was the fourth consecutive year that the Thistles and Wild have met in the playoffs and they’ve won two series apiece with Fergus winning in odd-numbered years and Wilmot taking the series in even-numbered years.
The Thistles advance to play the Brantford Warriors in the division final. They wrapped up the other West semifinal with a victory in Barrie Thursday night that gave the Warriors a 3-1 win in the series. They last met in the playoffs in 2017 when Brantford won the West final 3-2.
Fergus and Brantford met three times during the regular season this year with Brantford winning two of the games. The Warriors took the season opener 10-9 in overtime in Elora April 27 and also won 11-9 in Brantford May 24, three days after the Thistles had won 9-6 in Fergus.
Brantford finished the regular season in first place in the West Division at 13-3-0 to get a bye in the divisional quarter-finals. The Thistles were third at 11-5-0 and they disposed of the Halton Hills Bulldogs (2-13-1) in two games in the best-of-three divisional quarter-finals.
Dates for the best-of-five West final have not been set.
Thistles 7 Wild 6
- Guelph Sports Journal