River Rats preparing for Game 2 of provincial final against Metro Jaguars
WINDSOR, N.S. — The Avon River Rats have started off their Nova Scotia Regional Junior Hockey League's championship playoff run on the right foot.
WINDSOR, N.S. — Game 2 of the Nova Scotia Regional Junior Hockey League final at Hants Exhibition Arena was a spirited affair, ending with a goal 5:39 into the second overtime period.
Falmouth’s Brett Wallace assisted on the game winner for the Metro Jaguars March 16 in Windsor.
The Jaguars outshot the Avon River Rats 64-44 over five periods, including a 26-14 advantage in the second period. The only period the River Rats held an advantage in shots was the third period, when they outshot the Jaguars 12-10.
River Rats head coach Matt Lyttle told the Valley Journal-Advertiser following the game that he felt goaltender Carter McMullen held the team in the game for long stretches.
The Jaguars opened the scoring with a blast from Tony Hart. The Jaguars went up 2-0 after a horrible turnover in front of the Rats' net. After taking a 3-0 lead, they lost control of the play in their end of the rink and Parker Connors, on an assist from Cam Dauphinee, put the River Rats on the board.
Down by two points after the first period, Lyttle said he spoke to his players about “getting the puck deep in the second period” and that it was impossible to play two periods in the playoffs and expect success.”
The River Rats looked renewed in the second period, as Jake Hopewell scored to make it 3-2, but a brief lapse allowed the Jaguars to go in front 4-2 with 3:15 left in the frame.
Early in the third period, Mitchell Urquhart tipped in a shot from the point to make it 4-3 before Hopewell, with his second of the night, tied the game at 4-4. Connors, who played strong throughout the game, picked up an assist on the tying goal.
The River Rats then swarmed the Jaguars net and missed two critical chances before Devon Pennell, who was a few minutes late for the game after working a 13-hour shift at the airport, scored the go-ahead goal for the River Rats. The scoring chances continued as both goalies made remarkable saving efforts.
Jordan Sollows sped down the ice and let a wrist shot go to knot the game at 5-5 and send it to overtime.
The River Rats did not play well in the first overtime, but thanks to McMullen, they escaped the first overtime still deadlocked at 5-5.
In the second overtime period, McMullen made two outstanding saves, including one on a two-on-one break for Metro. There was end-to-end action for five and a half minutes before the Jaguars finally scored the game winner on a rebound in front of the Rats' net.
Game 3 in the Best of Seven series is March 18 in Halifax at 5 p.m. and Game 4 is in Windsor Sunday night at 7 p.m. Game 5 will see them return to Halifax for a 9 p.m. start on March 20.