Exeter brings much more experience into the PJHL series than the Aylmer Spitfires
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
By Rob J. Ross
AYLMER - The Aylmer Spitfires will be looking to ride their youthful spirit this post season.
As the Provincial Junior Hockey League team enters the Yeck Division playoffs, the best of seven game series will feature a young roster up against a veteran laden team.
Following a sixth place finish with a 15-24-0-1 record, the Spitfires take on the second place Exeter Hawks in the first round, starting Wednesday in Aylmer (7:15 p.m.).
The Hawks won the season series four games to one, including a pair of 8-0 shutouts. Two games were decided in overtime, with each team winning one.
Exeter has the edged in experience with four 21 year olds and six 20 year olds on the roster, compared to one and four on the Aylmer bench.
Aylmer will rely on top scorers Luke Regier (team high 20 assists and 30 points) and Matt Bond (15G, 13A), two of their senior players, Connor Lacey (28 pts), 17-year old Dylan Vandersleen (team best 16 goals) and Erik Scherer (10G, 12A in 17 games).
The Hawks were second in offence behind first place Dorchester, led by Jon Baker, the division’s top scorer with 66 points, on 20 goals and 46 assists. Jonathon Frook finished fifth in scoring with 52 points, Carter McLlwain potted a team best 30 goals and Liam Melday had 31 assists. Ian Vandenheuvel was second in defencemen scoring with 35 points.
Aylmer ranked seventh in both offence and goals against.
The Spitfires need to stay far from the penalty box as the Hawks own the number one power play in the division, while the Spitfires had the worst penalty killing unit.
Spitfires’ goalie Blake Zehr was the busiest man between the pipes facing 1,128 shots over 33 appearances. The team will need Zehr’s goals against average to leap in the 900s, for a better opportunity of being successful against the Hawks.
This is the third time Aylmer and Exeter have met in the playoffs, with each team having a series sweep. The Spitfires swept their way to the final in 2017, while the Hawks held the brooms in 2016.