(WINDSOR, ON) – After four games in just over 24 hours, it would not take much to guess that the Windsor Warlocks Midget Rep Team and the Sarnia Pacers are a little sick of each other. In a series of chippy affairs, Windsor would win two and take a tie in four games against the Pacers.
The first two games of the weekend took place early Saturday in Point Edward.
In Saturday’s morning game, the Warlocks failed to contain Sarnia assistant caption Matt Vince, who pummelled them for 4 goals on the way to a 6-5 Pacers’ victory.
Sarnia came out flying, with Vince denting the mesh twice and another goal from Spence Vandenboom to take an early 3-0 lead. Jake Rosa potted a late one for the Warlocks to end the period on a positive note.
The middle frame was a goalie duel, with no one scoring until William Cecile netted the ball with 8 seconds remaining to bring the game within a goal. Chase Cosgrove was stingy in net, scoring the shutout period.
In the third, Sarnia’s Ryan Barwitzki scored early to pad the lead, but Windsor stormed back with snipes from Corey Kerester, Cecile, and Nathan Salaris to take their first lead of the morning, with a little more than 2 minutes remaining in the game.
Down but not out, Vince came alive again blasting a pair of shots past Cosgrove to give his team the win.
Not to be deterred, Windsor came back in the afternoon with something to prove. The Warlocks went straight to work with two early goals from Cecile and Brayden Mayea. In net, Joel Evans shutdown the Pacers early, blanking them in the first.
Sarnia and Windsor traded jabs at the start of the second, as Vince scored for the Pacers at 14:20 and Rosa at 12:38 for the Warlocks. Windsor’s Mayea lit the lamp over the Pacers goalie midway through the frame, but Sarnia found their groove late in the period with Lucas Coats and Jakob Knowles cashing in to bring the game even for the third.
The final stanza was dominated by the Warlocks. Cecile took the lead early, but was answered by Knowles minutes later. Rosa regained the advantage with 9:30 to go, a lead padded by his own insurance marker and a late goal from Andrew Clarke to nail down the lid on the coffin.
Cosgrove took the early loss, while Evans was in net for the afternoon win for Windsor.
The series shifted to Windsor for Sunday.
The next morning, Sarnia looked strong in the opening frame. The Pacers shutdown the Warlocks offense, while Dylan Riddell took an early lead with a blast past Evans. Nate Armstrong added a buzzer beater on a late possession for Sarnia to go to break up 2-0.
After a quick pep-talk from coach John Rosa, Kerester snapped a quick shot home to cut the lead in half for Windsor to start the second. Knowles would have nothing of that, retaking the two-goal spread, for Sarnia, just minutes later. As the minutes melted away in the middle frame, the game became a possession-to-possession defensive battle. Finally, with 2:15 remaining in the period, Sarnia caved, and Mayea popped a pair in quick procession to tie the game.
As the final frame opened, Knowles struck again, giving Sarnia the go ahead. The two teams returned to defensive gridlock, until Mayea completed his hat-trick with 8:35 remaining to tie the game.
The Warlocks smelt blood and went for the kill. With just over 5 minutes remaining, Jake Rosa took a feed from Rhett Bellaire and buried it deep in the Sarnia net to clinch the victory. The Midgets’ patented defense took care of the rest. Evans scored his second win of the weekend for Windsor.
The series concluded that afternoon with the two teams coming to a 5-5 tie.
The opening period would end with a stalemate. Pacer Joel Stover would open the scoring midway through the first, followed by Mayea for Windsor.
Sarnia could not maintain their two-goal advantage in the middle frame, as the Warlocks surged late to tie it. Both goals for the Pacers were scored by Lucas Knowles, while Jake Rosa tallied twice to draw the game at 3.
In the final stanza, the two teams traded leads, but neither could keep their grip on it. Mayea scored early to give Windsor a their first and only lead of the game. With about 5 minutes to go, Jakob Knowles replied to get his team back into it. A minute later, Lucas Knowles would complete his hat-trick and give Sarnia a 5-4 lead with only minutes to go. Not to be outdone, Mayea got his own hatty to knot the game again with only 3 minutes to spare. Nothing came of the final minutes and the game ended unresolved.
Cosgrove picked up the tie in net. While, Malcolm Vandevenne and Braiden Shaw split the weekend for Sarnia.
“[We had] four games against Sarnia in one weekend [and it] made [for] a physical battle,” said coach Rosa after the series. “We were a little short going into the weekend with players missing for hockey. Then we had a few injuries and suspensions and our 18 player roster was down to 14 by the final game. We were able to call up a few players to help us and they were very good. Jacob McLellan from Windsor House League, Jacob Fields and Zane Dalpe were called up from our Bantam team for our fourth game. Crash Rosa was also called up from our bantam team on Saturday night for game two of the weekend.”
Rosa felt the success of his team, on the weekend, rested on their defensive core.
“We had great defensive work from our man-short team,” he said. “Notably, Aaron Dugan, Andrew Clark, Blair Cosgrove and Rhett Bellaire.”
The Warlocks return to action Wednesday, May 18, at home against the Wallaceburg Griffins. They then go on the road for a doubleheader, in Wallaceburg, on June 4.