Monday, November 22nd, 2010


WOODSTOCK -- It was another disappointing weekend for the struggling Woodstock Navy Vets.

But with a Friday game against the division-leading Norwich Merchants, there was likely some expectation of disappointment before the weekend even began. Given the Merchants' dominance of late, the 5-0 shutout of the cellar-dwelling Navy Vets wasn't much of a surprise.

The Merchants controlled the game from the opening draw, building an imposing 3-0 lead by the end of the first frame on goals from Cole Vinnai, Kevin Kuehl (sh) and Bryan Phillips (pp). While the second period was quiet, Mike Brilhante made some noise early in the third, giving the Merchants a four-goal lead that was eventually capped by Phillips' second marker of the night.

The Navy Vets struggle on their power play, not managing to capitalize on any of their nine chances and even surrendering a short-handed goal in the first.

The Merchants managed to generate some offence in Saturdays game against the Paris Mounties but still couldn't keep pace in the 5-3 loss.

The difference may have been Joel Hoekstra's two second-period power-play goals, the second of which proved to be the game-winner. Robert Eaton opened the scoring for Paris early in the first period but was quickly answered by Woodstock's Dylan Lazarus, who evened the game with his power-play goal. Nick Brimmer, though, would restore the Paris lead before the end of the frame, helping set the stage for Hoekstra's second-period heroics. Eaton would score his second of the game on a late third-period power play to give Paris a two-goal edge.

Lazarus scored his second goal of the game late in the second period from Chase Thornton, who had two assists on the night, while Christian Crossett gave the Vets some hope when his third-period marker pulled them within one.

Again, the Navy Vets struggled on the power play, only exploiting one of 14 opportunities in the penalty-filled game.

The Navy Vets' ongoing struggles may have prompted some weekend moves, with the Woodstock club signing Brent Wallace, who formerly played for the Burford Bulldogs in the Southern Ontario Junior Hockey League, and Mackenzie Langford, who was playing at Notre Dame in Saskatchewan. The Vets also formally released Bryce Cadwell, who is now playing with the Ayr Centennials.

With the two weekend losses, the last-place Navy Vets drop to a 2-13-3 record for the Niagara and District Junior C League season, leaving them five points behind the Mounties in the west division standings. With their Friday win, the Merchants improved to a 16-0-1 record, leaving them eight points clear of New Hamburg for top spot in the west.

Woodstock hosts the Simcoe Storm on Friday while the Merchants welcome Dundas for a cross-division game.