Monday, October 26th, 2009
Merchants hammer Gades
All good things must come to an end, and that includes winning streaks.
The Woodstock Renegades learned that lesson the hard way Friday, losing 7-2 in Norwich as the Merchants won the Battle of 59 for the first time in three tries this season.
It was no contest from the start, as the Merchants were determined not to lose three straight to their Oxford Country rivals.
"They were full marks for their game," Renegades' head coach Dave McLaren said. "They outworked us all over the ice. When you don't work and you don't compete, you don't win.
"They had 18, 20 guys fired up, ready to go."
Norwich improved to 8-3 before Sunday night's game in Simcoe and, more importantly, started to demonstrate the style of play head coach Chad Paton has preached since training camp.
The Merchants' forwards were relentless in their puck pursuit and forced the Renegades' defencemen into costly turnovers.
"They're finally starting to do exactly what we ask them," Paton said. "We've got a system put in. It took a while ... but they're doing it now."
The win came at the start of a six-game stretch that has the Merchants playing some of the top Niagara League teams.
Norwich will play Aylmer, Dundas, Grimsby and Simcoe twice during that span.
"Coming into the next five games we think it will be a good test facing the top teams from both sides," Paton said.
Addison Fisher scored twice for the Merchants, who led 2-0 after the first period and took a 6-0 lead into the third.
Curtis Logan, Bryan Phillips, Jeff Green, Trevor Rose and Stuart Preston also scored for Norwich.
Tyler Labadie and Craig Thomson scored for Woodstock in the final frame, spoiling Matt Coutts' shutout but much too late.
"On the positive side, the third period we cut down on mistakes a bunch and that made a difference," McLaren said.
Any momentum was lost Saturday in New Hamburg as the Firebirds edged Woodstock, 2-1.
Jordan Minello scored a first-period goal as the Renegades slipped to 5-4.
"We gotta be happy with our start," McLaren said Friday, "but tonight showed us how many things we have to work on. The clock is ticking."