Photo Credit: Devyn Gallagher
1 Akwesasne Indians 2 Clairington Green Gaels
The Clairington Green Gaels head home in an unfavourable position, down 2-0 to the Indians. The Indians handed the Gaels two losses at the Turtledome this weekend and fortunately for the Gaels, the remainder of the games are on the Gaels floor at Garnett B. Rickard.
Game 1 was a low scoring affair considering the two offensive squads going head to head. The first period was a back and forth battle but the Gaels offense hit the wall in the second period. It took the Gaels 19:40 minutes to get their lone goal in the second period to make the score 7-3. This was the biggest factor in the Gaels losing their first game in the 2012 playoffs.
The Gaels would make a bold statement in changing goaltender Neil Roberts after only allowing 9 goals in his first playoff loss. Gaels coach Jason Crosbie called upon veteran goaltender Eric Pigden. The bold call almost paid off as Pigden played solid between the pipes and almost secured the win to knot the series up.
The Gaels found themselves down 6-2 early in the second period. The second half of the second frame was all Gaels as they buried three goals, including a pair from Connor Latimer that would put the game within a goal.
The Gaels took the lead from the Indians after a goal by Mitch De Snoo at the 3:57 minute of the third. A pair of goals from Ross Cree gained the lead back for the Indians. Dylan Goddard answered Ross and the Indians with a pair of his own to send the game into overtime.
Overtime alone was worth the price of admission with 6 goals in 10 minutes. The Indians hopped out to a two goal lead with goals from Shane Francis and Derek Hopps. Luke Laskiewicz answered the Indians with a goal to close the gap. Hopps scored his second goal of overtime and his third of the game making the score 11-9. Laszkiewicz buried his second goal in extra time and third of the game to bring the game within one. Shane Francis scored an insurance marker with 4 seconds remaining in OT.
Indian goaltender Jake Lazore dominated overtime with making big saves and registering an impressive 3 assists. The Indians goalie was a big part of the Indians second win with his ability to shut the door in key situations and also his playmaking ability from the crease gave a boost to the Indians transition game.
The Gaels are frustrated and disappointed that they are now in a must win situation, but they are confident and inspired to win out and head to the OJBLL finals.
â€œThe guys wish we could go out and play game 3 right nowâ€ said Gaels scorer Connor Latimer. â€œTodayâ€™s game showed that there is no quit in the Green Gaels. We have a great group of guys that pick each other up when were down and feed off each other when we are up.â€
Latimer has returned to the line up with a bang as he continues to put up big points each night. The Gaels sniper has found the net 9 times with 14 helpers for an impressive 23 points in 5 games.
Along with Latimer, goaltender Eric Pigden agrees that the weekend has not deflated the Gaels. â€œOur mood is motivated that is for sureâ€ said Pigden. â€œWeâ€™ve got a big task at hand but good teams show their true colors under pressure and weâ€™re confident in our abilities enough that we think we can escape this round and live to see another day.â€
The Gaels know what exactly needs to be done if they want to get back into the series and continue their playoff run. â€œWe just need to play our game with a quick start and continue for all 60 minutesâ€ said Latimer. â€œItâ€™s going to come down to who wants it more. Coming back home for game 3 is something that will help us big time.â€
Pigden agrees and believes the home floor advantage will be a big help in coming back in the series. â€œPlaying at home next weekend will certainly bring more intensity and hopefully 3 wins to keep our goal alive.â€
The Gaels have dug themselves into a big hole but find believe this is not an impossible task. If the Gaels can come out to a stronger start, take away the long bomb of Lazore and play strong from front to finish they can possibly make a comeback.
3. AKW@GRE Jul 27, 8:00pm
*4. AKW@GRE Jul 28, 7:00pm
*5. AKW@GRE Jul 29, 2:00pm
* if necessary