Monday, January 04th, 2010
'Gades stun Merchants in OT
The Renegades' Jr. C forward Dan Phillips wasn't planning on a three-point game to start 2010, but his performance still helped his team cement a 3-2 overtime win against the Norwich Merchants.
"It seems like luck," the humble Phillips said in the dressing room after Saturday's game at the Southwood Arena. "We've just been working hard, and it's finally starting to pay off."
The victory meant the Renegades split this season's Battle of Highway 59 series against their Oxford rivals, a feat the team was unable to do in the 2008-09 season when the Merchants won five of the six matchups. The last time the Renegades won three of the six annual regular-season games against Norwich was two seasons ago.
"Since I've been here, Norwich's always been a hard team to play. They're skilled and some times they can play dirty," Phillips said. "We know we have to be prepared... we need to be ready and confident."
At the very beginning of this season, the Renegades seemed to be the only team the Merchants couldn't crack-- a tide that was turned with a decisive 7-2 win Oct. 23. A 2-0 shutout followed on Dec. 4 before the Renegades almost stole a win back on Dec. 19 when the Merchants prevailed in a 2-1 win.
Phillips' assist on the night came on the game's first goal, when he grabbed the puck on a bad clearing attempt by a Norwich player and went in close on Norwich goaltender Matt Coutts with Craig Thomson. Thomson banged a rebound past Coutts' five-hole.
Norwich had regained control of the game by the 12-minute mark of the first period, grabbing a lead on goals by Kris Krolouski (pp) and Chad Barclay. Of the two, Barclay's goal turned heads as his shot from the faceoff circle hit the post and rebounded off the back of Renegades' goaltender Alex Gegeny.
Phillips' equalizer was a power-play effort, as he backhanded a Calvin Thomson shot into Coutts' open side. Norwich almost stole the game with a minute on the clock in the third when Gegeny mishandled an attempt to glove a shot from the blue-line, which referee Bob Wright waved off as there was a high stick on the play.
Merchants' coach Chad Paton wasn't happy with the call but said it wasn't one he or the players were going to dwell on.
Phillips capped the night 32 seconds into overtime shortly after the period's second faceoff as, while falling, he slid a rebounding puck through Coutts' pads.
"We'll take our one point," Paton said after the game. "We've got a big game to get ready for against Simcoe ... with our loss to New Hamburg last week and overtime here, we don't want a streak to develop."
"Some teams appear to be struggling in the standings, but not one of them is weak," Renegades manager and coach Bill McLeod said.
Woodstock's next home game comes Jan. 15 against Paris, a week after its Jan. 8 road game in New Hamburg. Norwich hosts Simcoe Jan. 8 then Aylmer on Jan. 15.