McCarthy picks up the shutout while Eterno has a three point night as Dorchester
blanks Thamesford, 3-0, in the opening game of the PJHL Yeck semifinal
Friday, February 22, 2019
By Rob J. Ross
DORCHESTER - Liam McCarthy and Jovin Eterno both enjoyed the best playoff games of their young junior careers.
McCarthy stopped all 43 shots faced between the pipes while Eterno scored twice and assisted on Ryan Root's game winning goal, as the Dorchester Dolphins blanked the Thamesford Trojans, 3-0, in the opening game of the best of seven game Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL) Yeck Division semifinal.
"Everyone worked hard tonight," said Eterno, skating with linemates Brody Smith and Ryan Poley. "Grinding in the corners and getting on their defence fast. Then we just hung around the net and we were able to pop one and then we got the empty netter."
Root opened the scoring in the first period, with assists going to Eterno and Nolan Blewett. The Dolphins doubled their lead when Eterno jumped on a rebound off an initial shot by Smith.
"It was a big game for me, but I hand it to McCarthy, great job in net and everyone else played great all around," the 18-year old Eterno said. "We hung in there in the third period. We had too many penalties. We got caught deep a bunch a times but McCarthy helped us out."
Thanks to three power plays, Thamesford out shot Dorchester, 21-9, in the third period, but Eterno had the only goal, an empty netter with 54 seconds left in the game.
"We knew they would have a big push. The third for sure they wanted it," said McCarthy, who made a number of stellar saves for his first career playoff shutout, none better perhaps than a glove save from his stomach during the Trojans' third power play.
"We played well, killed off the penalties and stuck together to get the win. Everyone on our team came in really focused," the 17-year old McCarthy added. "We knew we would have a tough test in Thamesford, especially after how their last series went (a four game sweep of fourth place North Middlesex)."
The Dolphins carried the momentum over the first half of the game, thanks to a quick, clean breakout from their own zone, limiting Thamesford's scoring chances.
"We've been working on it in practice, making sure everything is fine tuned. Everyone has been doing their job and focusing in on stuff," said McCarthy. "We have to play our game and not let them get to us. They are a really strong, chippy team."
Smith picked up two assist in the game and now leads the Dolphins in playoff scoring with 10 points, on six goals and four assists. Eterno, with two goals and four assists, Blewett, Dylan Bucholz and defenceman Braidon Duncan, each have six points.
"This is my best Junior C game for sure so far," said Eterno, who had a number of memorable games with the London Jr. Mustangs at the Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) tournament. "I hope to build on it and help the team get some more wins."
Game two is Saturday at Thamesford (7:30 p.m.) and game three back here at the Flight Exec Center, 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Dorchester took the season series three games to two, thanks to an overtime win in their fourth meeting. The Trojans faced four different goalies in the Dolphins' net, including McCarthy twice.
This is just the second time Dorchester has faced Thamesford in the playoffs. The Dolphins swept the Trojans in 2014.
McCarthy's shutout, is the ninth in club playoff history. Matt Waller had the Dolphin's eighth shutout in the first round against Mt. Brydges.