Friday, February 05th, 2010
Quest for Schmalz Cup begins
New Hamburg vs. Norwich
NORWICH -- The quest for the Clarence Schmalz Cup begins tonight as the Niagara west Junior C playoffs begin in Norwich and New Hamburg.
After deciding to forgo a firstround bye for finishing second in the division, the Norwich Merchants will host the Paris Mounties in game 1 of their best-of-seven quarter-final.
Norwich enters the game having won five of its last six regular season games, including two victories over first-place Simcoe.
Paris, meanwhile, stumbled to the finish line, losing seven of its last eight games. The Mounties lost 5-3 to the Simcoe Storm and 4-1 to the Woodstock Renegades last weekend, but head coach Peter Crosby -- the Niagara west Coach of the Year -- said his team would draw from those losses heading into the series against Norwich.
"I realize it was a nothing game for them (Simcoe)," Crosby said. "But in that first period we outplayed them and outshot them 17-6.
"All the work we did in that first period was there. I harp on that first period because they played as a unit and had everything clicking. We were a north-south team with purpose. That's what we need to do to be successful."
Paris will need a small miracle if it has any hopes of beating Norwich four times in a seven-game series. Head-to-head, the Merchants won all six games this season with all but two wins decided by at least three goals.
"It doesn't matter who we play," Crosby said. "This is a tough league with different levels of play. We don't have the luxury like other teams to take a shift off , let alone a game. To be successful against Norwich we have to play as a team. It needs to be a total team effort."
Niagara west division quarter-final (2) Norwich vs. (6) Paris
Game 1 Feb. 5 @ Norwich 8 p.m.
Game 2 Feb. 6 @ Paris 7 p.m.
Game 3 Feb. 12 @ Norwich 8 p.m.
Game 4 Feb. 13 @ Paris 7 p.m.
Game 5 Feb. 14 @ Norwich 2 p.m.
Game 6 Feb. 15 @ Paris 7:30 p.m.
Game 7 Feb. 17 @Norwich 7:30 p.m.
New Hamburg vs. Aylmer
NEW HAMBURG-- The Firebirds host Aylmer tonight looking to snap a three-game losing streak and maintain home-ice advantage.
The fourth-place Firebirds finished four points ahead of Aylmer but the teams split their six regular season meetings.
Home ice proved valuable to both teams as each won two of three games in their own rink. In Aylmer, the Spitfires outscored New Hamburg 17-11. Despite losing twice in New Hamburg, Aylmer still outscored the Firebirds 9-8.
Statistically, the teams are almost identical. New Hamburg scored one more goal than Aylmer (125 to 124), while the Firebirds allowed three fewer goals (155 to 1`58) than the Spits.
Add it up and the makings are there for a long series, which bodes well for the rested Simcoe Storm.
Niagara west division quarter-final (4) New Hamburg vs. (5) Aylmer
Game 1 Feb 5 @ New Hamburg 7:30 p.m.
Game 2 Feb 6 @ Aylmer 7:30 p.m.
Game 3 Feb 9 @ New Hamburg 7:30 p.m.
Game 4 Feb 10 @ Aylmer 7:30 p.m.
Game 5 Feb 12 @ New Hamburg 7:30 p.m.
Game 6 Feb 13 @ Aylmer 7:30 p.m.
Game 7 Feb 15 @ New Hamburg (TBA)