Noah Small leads with a three point game as Dorchester clinches first place in the
Yeck Division for a third time by dumping the Aylmer Spitfires, 5-2
Friday, January 25, 2019
By Rob J. Ross
DORCHESTER - For the third time in four years the Dorchester Dolphins will be the top seed heading into the Yeck Division playoffs.
On pace for their fourth best regular season in team history, the Dolphins clinch first place with a 5-2 win against the Aylmer Spitfires, in Provincial Junior Hockey League action at the Flight Exec Centre.
Rookie forward Noah Small led his hometown team with two goals and an assist, while line-mate Griffin Sinden picked up four assists.
"Our line (Small, Sinden, Ryan Van Roestel) played good. We've been playing together for a bit now and seem to have good chemistry," said Small. "We know where everyone is and we seem to find the open passes. The goals have been coming for us lately."
Small has seven goals in his past five games, including a crucial overtime winner at Exeter January 12th. An early season injury slowed his progress in the first half of the season, but the 18-year old has 15 goals and 10 assists over 29 games. Sinden has two goals and six assists in his past five games. The 17-year old Tillsonburg native has eight goals and 12 assists in 16 games, since arriving from the Tillsonburg Hurricanes of the Greater Metro Junior A League.
Van Roestel opened the scoring two minutes into the game, with his 14th goal of the campaign. Dorchester led 2-1 after one period and 4-2 following 40 minutes.
Sinden drew assists on both of his line-mates' goals and a third period power play goal by Jovin Eterno. Nolan Blewett completed Dorchester's scoring with his team leading 31st goal of the season, second in the division, two goals behind Lucan's Dillon Saunders.
"Big win for us," said Dolphins' defenceman James Newland, who had two assists in the game. "That makes going into Exeter (February 2nd) and Thamesford a little easier. We came out flat but then we started putting up points."
The veteran who is fourth in the division in defencemen scoring, with eight goals and 19 assists, delivered praise for Small and forward Austin Bisschop.
"Small has been playing unbelievable these past six, seven games. He's been lighting it up. It's good to see." He had a big goal in overtime (versus Exeter)," Newland said. "Bisschop this game played unreal. He was grinding. He got player of the game for us (player's dressing room vote). It's his hard work. He battles and gets to the puck first and gets good scoring opportunities. That's what we need going into the playoffs."
Dorchester will face the Mt. Brydges Bulldogs in a first round best of seven game series. The Dolphins won the season series four games to one, but did drop their last meeting.
The Dolphins have finished first in 2016 and in 2017, the year they posted a 39-0-1 record. In their six seasons, the 'Phins have six consecutive appearances in the Yeck championship, winning titles in 2014, 2016 and 2017.
The Dolphins sweep the five game season series with Aylmer, but the final meeting may have been the Spitfires' best effort against the division leaders.
"I thought we held in there. We showed tonight we are a young hockey team but we battle right to the end. I was happy with that," said Aylmer head coach Bryan Rose. "We had a little bit of jump. When we had a fore-check going we pressured their D into some turnovers. We hustled tonight and I'm proud of the boys for doing that. We're happy that we competed and it was better than last time (a 12-0 loss December 21st)."
Erik Scherer and defenceman Myles Carlson both scored on the power play.
"We worked on it at practice this week, so it was nice to see it go the way it is supposed to go," Rose said. "We are a young team and every game we get a little bit more experience. We learn and learn and keep going."
Scherer has two goals and five assists in his past four games and sits with nine goals and nine assists in 15 games. Matt Bond had an assist and is tied with Luke Regnier for the team scoring lead with 27 points.
Aylmer continues their fight to finish sixth in the division, battling the Lucan Irish for the position. The teams have a home and home set in the final week of the schedule. The Spitfires host the Irish, January 30th, before visiting Lucan on February 3rd. Since Lucan leads the season series with Aylmer, two games to one and has a two point advantage in the standings, the Spitfires likely will need to win both games.
"That's we're hoping to do. We have two huge games to finish the season. It'll be like playoffs for us. It's there for us," Rose said. "In the first 15-20 games we didn't believe. We were looking around at each other to see who was going to step up and get it done. In the second half of the season, the guys have accepted their roles and have started to step up. There's no one standing around watching."
Third place remains a battle between Thamesford, Lambeth and North Middlesex, with the latter currently in the position with a three point advantage.