Monday, January 10th, 2011


Norwich doubles Navy Vets in Battle of 59


NORWICH - Close, but not good enough.

That sums up the Woodstock Navy Vets' struggles with the Norwich Merchants in their last two meetings.

Norwich scored four unanswered goals Friday to erase an early Woodstock lead and win 6-3. It was the Merchants' 25th victory of the season and fifth straight against their county rival.

"I think we could have been a little better to start," Merchants' assistant coach Jarrett Rose said. "We got the rust off and got back in the game."

After suffering a trio of blowout losses to Norwich earlier this season, the Navy Vets have played much better in the Battle of 59. Still, a 5-3 loss in late December and Friday's defeat means Woodstock is still win-less against the first-place Merchants.

"For about 40 minutes we played an effective game. We worked hard," Woodstock assistant coach Ed Cook said.

The Navy Vets took their first lead of the season against Norwich with goals from John Roepman and Chase Thornton before the game was five minutes old. Jake Jeff eries and Mike Brilhante with goals late in the first period.

Norwich carried that momentum to the second period, as Jefferies and Curtis Logan scored 16 seconds apart to give Norwich a 4-2 lead.

Derek Cowing beat Matt McGonigle 11:23 into the middle frame for his team-leading 17th goal. Mike Rebry restored the Merchants' two-goal lead with less than four minutes remaining in the second.

Aaron Wirth added an insurance goal for Norwich in the third period. Bryan Phillips had four assists for Norwich, which improved to 25-1-2.

"Credit to (Woodstock), they're working hard and their goalie (Neil Pittock) played well," Rose said. "I think the score could have been a little bigger."

Woodstock slipped to 7-18-4 and missed a chance to move ahead of Paris and into fifth place in the Niagara west division .

"Five-on-five I thought we played well," Cook said. "Special teams came into play ... Norwich got one or two power play goals (No rwich scored one). That's one thing we look at statistically is how we stand and how we match up against other teams in the league.

"We need to tighten up defensively and on the penalty kill."