Following a loss at home to Mt. Brydges, Dorchester wins on the road at Aylmer
keeping their eyes on finishing a top the PJHL Yeck Division
Monday, January 6, 2019
By Rob J. Ross
DORCHESTER - Usually when a team is near the top of the standings it is due to their strong record on home ice.
Not so for the top two teams in the Provincial Junior Hockey League Yeck Division. The Mt. Brydges Bulldogs and Dorchester Dolphins are one-two in the Yeck after the first weekend of the new year, in part to both teams having dominant road records. The Bulldogs and Dolphins are a combined 29-5-1-0 away from their rinks and only 18-14-0-0 at home.
In the most recent meeting between the frontrunners, the Bulldogs defeated the Dolphins, 7-3, at the Flight Exec Centre, on January 3rd.
Instead of leap-frogging the Bulldogs for first place, the Dolphins slipped three points back of the division's top team.
The Dolphins rebounded the next night, winning on the road, doubling up on the Aylmer Spitfires, 4-2.
"I can't figure it out how we're so good on the road and not so good at home," Dolphins' coach Mark Steele said.
Mt. Brydges took both games of a home and home set with the Port Stanley Sailors, on Saturday and Sunday, to move five points up on Dorchester.
The Dolphins do have two games in hand on the Bulldogs. Austin Bisschop scored on the power play, shorthanded and assisted on Isaac Sturgeon's goal, in the Dolphins' win over Aylmer.
Bisschop's third two goal game of the season, gives him eight goals and 19 points for the season. It's the Dorchester native's first game winning goal, three point game and the 20-year old has six points over his past six games.
Dylan Buckholz potted his team leading 25th goal of the season, in to an empty net and now has goals in each of the past six games.
This was Aylmer's first game with new head coach Jason Clark.
The Bulldogs scored four goals in a 11-minute span in the second period to take control of the Friday matchup against the Dolphins.
Dorchester was leading 2-1, on goals by Caden Faulkner and Brody Smith, before Bulldogs' Ryan Hopkins shorthanded marker seemed to swing the momentum. Mt. Brydges led 5-2 after 40 minutes.
Buckholz scored on a five-on-three power play in the opening minute of the third period giving the home team life. But two goals from Daniel Stretton put the Dolphins on ice.
"Ït was one of those nights. We had chances in the first (period) to bury that didn't go our way," Steele said. "(In the second) it got away from us. We lost our compete level. We lost focus for several minutes. We got over zealous for it. Some of our guys when they get too hyped up aren't at their best. They go over that line. We have to play at that line. We have to find that happy medium."
Hopkins, who leads the division in scoring finished with a goal and two assists.
The line of Stretton, Colin Van Rooyen, Kane Johnson, finished with nine points.
The Bulldogs' penalty killers held the division's top power play to one goal in seven opportunities.
"They can turn the momentum and it did tonight. They had four chances on our power play (before Hopkins scored)," Steele said.
Dorchester takes the season series against Mt. Brydges four games to two, with both losses coming on home ice.
The Dolphins take a three games to two lead in the season series against the Spitfires, with one game remaining. Both Aylmer wins came in Dorchester.
Dorchester were without defencemen Colin Capstick, Nick Schildroth and Ethan Whitmore, plus forward Ryan Poley, for both games this past weekend. That forced Steele to move forwards Dylan Van Dusen and Jovin Eterno to the blueline.
"They stepped up, did what they could and I thought they did great," Steele said.
Buckholz leads the Dolphins with 53 points and sits second in division scoring. Captain Brody Smith has 48 points and Noah Small, 38 points. Small's 19 goals has him fifth in the division. After visiting Thamesford (20-9-1-3) this Tuesday, the Dolphins (23-10-0-0) host the Lucan Irish (8-20-0-3), on Friday, January 10th and the Exeter Hawks (21-9-2-1), Saturday, the 11th.