Dolphins need one point or an Exeter loss for top spot in the PJHL Yeck Division
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
By Rob J. Ross
DORCHESTER - Only one point separates the Dorchester Dolphins from a third Yeck Division regular season crown.
After winning two of their three games this past week, the Dolphins need only one point from their three remaining games to clinch top spot in the Provincial Junior Hockey League division.
An Exeter Hawks' loss will also give the Dolphins first place. The second place Hawks trail the Dolphins by seven points and have four games left on their schedule, including hosting the Dolphins on February 2.
"That'll be awesome to have home ice," said Ryan Root, a Dorchester native in his fourth season with the Dolphins. "Playoffs in Dorchester is always fun and our fans really get into it. Hopefully we can give them a good run."
The Dolphins have averaged 30 wins per season since entering junior C hockey in 2013 and the team won their 30th game this season by finally defeating the North Middlesex Stars.
The recently acquired Brody Smith had a hat trick, scoring a goal at even strength, on the power play and while short-handed, helping Dorchester snap a seven game winless streak against North Middlesex dating back to last season, with a 4-1 win at Parkhill, January 20th.
Smith started the season with Lambeth after almost three seasons in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) with St. Thomas and St. Marys. Smith had eight goals and eight assists in 16 games with Lambeth before coming to Dorchester.
The Stars were 4-0-0 against the Dolphins this campaign.
"We started the game good and got on them quick," Root said. "We didn't want to lose five games to them. So, it's nice to beat them and make them think twice when playing us that they're not just going to walk over us. It helps builds our confidence."
Dorchester and North Middlesex could meet in the second round of the playoffs, if both teams win their opening rounds.
Noah Small opened the scoring as Dorchester built a 3-0 lead, until North Middlesex scored with four minutes remaining in the third period. Smith replied a minute later, completing his three goal game with an unassisted short-handed effort in to an empty net.
In what will be a first round match-up, the Mt. Brydges Bulldogs showed they have the bite to stick with the top team, edging Dorchester, 3-2, on home ice January 18th.
"We didn't play an awful game but we couldn't get any bounces to go our way," said Root. "We couldn't get anything going early, but came on strong later in the game."
The Dolphins out shot the Bulldogs, 40-29, and felt they tied the game in the dying seconds of the third period, but it was waved off by the officials.
Nolan Blewett with both Dorchester goals, reaches 30 for the season.
Dorchester was one for five with the man advantage and killed all five Bulldog power plays.
Mt. Brydges clinched a playoff berth, officially eliminating the Port Stanley Sailors from post season action.
Andrew Bugeja has returned to 'Phin nation. A year ago, the 20-year old six foot defensive defenceman played the final five games of the regular season plus playoffs with Dorchester.