Monday, January 25th, 2010
Renegades split the weekend
The Renegades split this past weekend, winning a 3-2 shootout in Friday's home stand against the Aylmer Spitfires before losing 4-2 in Paris Saturday.
A pumped up crowd of almost 900 provided a motivational atmosphere Friday at the Southwood Arena as the Renegades played before their largest regular-season crowd of the season. Even so, both teams struggled to capitalize on chances and saw their share of pucks bouncing off posts.
Renegades' captain Cole Maher started off the night for Woodstock, pulling a nifty deke on a Spitfire defender before going top-shelf on Aylmer goaltender Brad Booy. The game's second regulation marker came off Brandon Zimmerman's stick after he was fed a beauty of a pass from behind the net.
Poor positioning would mark both of Aylmer's goals -- one each in the second and third periods. Cassidy North's slapshot from the blue-line got past Woodstock goaltender Alex Gegeny on a screen and Sean Mullin was left unmarked in the slot when he scored the Spits' second.
"We played a great game. We would have won if we'd hit the net some more," Booy said. "We expected it to be close.
"We know we can beat these guys."
The ensuing shootout had the hometown crowd on the edge as Maher and Zimmerman missed their shots and Jordan Minello's goal extended the shootout past three shots apiece. Travis Horvath missed the fourth chance, leaving it to Shane Reinhart to pot the fifth to get the point and the win.
"It was a real ping-pong match, back and forth," Renegade Spencer Sweazy said. "They owned us in the second, we had them in the first and the third was basically a split."
Sweazy said talk in the room centred on producing more offense deep in the zone and avoiding giving up too many odd-man rushes.
Coach Bill McLeod said he wasn't too happy with the team's effort Friday, noting player positioning was good overall, but the players weren't showing their speed.
"Aylmer had their chances to run and take that game away from us," McLeod said. "They were a little better organized than we were... we didn't have the wheels we're generally known for. I didn't feel we had that tonight-- once in a while we were getting caught behind the play."
On Saturday, McLeod said he made a decision to rest some players and ease off on showing too much of the Ren- egades' developing strategies, since the Mounties are a likely first-round playoff opponent. Justin Pottruff, Dan Phillips, Tayler Jones, Jordan Minello and starting goaltender Alex Gegeny sat the game out to rest and provide more ice time for third-and fourth-liners.
"We spent more time making notes on their (strategy). We can't take any team lightly going into the playoffs and we don't want to make that mistake," McLeod said Sunday.
The weekend provided some breathing room between the third-and last-place teams in the Niagara Jr. C's west division. Woodstock plays Paris at home Jan. 29 and Aylmer on the road Jan. 30 to end the season, with little chance of any of these teams or New Hamburg altering its placement in the standings given the games each has left and each team's opponents.
Given that, it's looking as though Norwich and Simcoe may take their first-round playoff byes, leaving the Renegades home-ice advantage in a first-round series against the Mounties.