Empty net goals help Dorchester defeat Mt. Brydges, 4-2, clinching the series in five
Friday, February 15, 2019
By Rob J. Ross
MT. BRYDGES, ON. - The Dorchester Dolphins are heading to the next round after surviving the dog pound.
Empty net goals by James Newland and Brody Smith in the final 90 seconds of the third period carried the Dorchester Dolphins to a 4-2 win over the Mt. Brydges Bulldogs, to clinch the Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL Yeck) Division series in five games.
Dorchester led a tight 2-1 game late in the third period when the Bulldogs pulled goalie Mitchell Van Eindhoven for the extra attacker. Twenty seconds later Newland lofted the puck in to the air from his own blueline that found the yawning cage.
Similar to their response in game four erasing two deficits, the Bulldogs still had bite and 15 seconds after the Newland goal, Mt. Brydges' captain Ryan Hopkins pulled his team back to within a goal.
With under 30 seconds to go, the Bulldogs forced a stoppage of play in the Dolphins' zone. But Smith won the face-off, watched the puck deflect off a Bulldog player and shoot down the ice. Smith beat everybody to the puck, shook off a checker and found the empty net with eight seconds left on the clock.
"It went right off the face-off down to the other end. There was no icing, must have hit a stick or skate. I just read the play, saw the defenceman coming up the wall, took it off and buried it," said Smith, who scored six goals in the series. "It was back and forth, up and down the ice. It was getting tiring but we worked it out and got the doub (win) to move on. We really wanted to get it done. We just came into today ready to play."
The Dolphins watched leads of 2-0 and 4-3 vanish in game four at Dorchester that the Bulldogs won 5-4 in overtime.
"We just moved on and focused on (game five). You can't dwell too much on the past," said Dolphins' goalie Liam McCarthy, filling in for the absent Matt Waller who started the previous four games.
Dorchester led 1-0 after 20 minutes on Nolan Blewett's fifth goal of the playoffs. Dylan Buckholz made it 2-0 'Phins a minute into the second period.
Mt. Brydges cut the lead in half on Noah Bruinink's power play goal.
Most of the excitement was in the final five minutes as the Dolphins looked for insurance and the Bulldogs pressed for the equalizer. Half of the game's shots came in the third period.
"I was just trying to stay focus with a great team in front of me, making sure I do my part back there," said McCarthy, who stopped 26 pucks in his playoff debut, as the Bulldogs out shot the Dolphins, 28-24. "It was a close game and both teams played really well. Props to Brydges to keep fighting and playing well. They made the series tough for us."
Jumping right into battle was defenceman Nate Frisbee, in his first game since being reacquired by the Dolphins earlier this month. Frisbee was traded to Lambeth in January, 2018 and enjoyed the Lancers' run to the Schmalz Cup semifinals, oddly enough with Smith, another former Lancer.
"It feels good to be out there playing with the guys. I hadn't been on the ice for awhile. It feels good to get the first one under us and the first round over with and move on to the next one," said Frisbee. "We let down a little bit after (Newland) scored thinking the game was over. But obviously there was 45 seconds left on the clock. We knew we had to bear down and get another one to make sure we take away their will and end their season. We didn't want to come back to (Dorchester)."
This was the first game in the series that the Dolphins failed to score on the power play.
Braidon Duncan picked up two assists and now leads all Dolphins' defencemen with six points, on a goal and five assists.
Smith sits fifth in playoff scoring within the division with eight points.
The Dolphins' second round opponent will be either the Thamesford Trojans (24-13-2-1) or Lucan Irish (14-21-3-2). The Trojans swept North Middlesex Stars in their first round series. The Irish trail Lambeth, three games to one.
Bulldogs bite back avoiding sweep