Wednesday, December 29th, 2010


Usual Suspects get some help in Vets victory


WOODSTOCK -- The Usual Suspects in blue and white were back at it last night at Southwood Arena. This time they had some help.

Leading scorers Chase Thornton, Derek Cowing and Travis Horvath combined for three goals and five points, and Neil Pittock made 38 saves to lead the Woodstock Navy Vets to a 3-2 victory over New Hamburg.

It was Woodstock's first victory in five games against the Firebirds. The Navy Vets (7-14- 4) moved into a tie with Paris for fifth place in the Niagara west division with 18 points.

Chase Thornton buried the game winner on the power play with 6:04 remaining in the third period. The 16-yearold continues to improve in his rookie season. It was his seventh goal in his last four games.

"It's being in the right spot at the right time, working out hard and trying to go to the net," Thornton said. "Just doing my job I guess."

Thornton's tally -- his 14th overall -- came 1:47 after New Hamburg's Taylor Wood scored shorthanded to tie the game at two. Ironically, it was Wood whose slashing penalty put the Firebirds two players short and allowed Thornton to backhand a loose puck past Corey Moore.

"That's huge. It's going to help us out late in the stretch," Thornton said. "We get them one more time and hopefully we can get another 'W'."

Horvath scored twice for Woodstock. The 20-year-old delighted the Family Night crowd with a rare early goal just 58 seconds into the game.

"That's been a trouble spot all year," Woodstock head coach Jeff Morrison said. "To pump one instead of giving one up, we could play with a lead."

Cowing picked up an assist to increase his team-leading point total to 30. The 17-yearold rookie has 11 points in his last six games as Woodstock has gone 3-3 during that span.

"We've loosened up a bit," Thornton said. "We feel we can compete with every team in the league and go out and do what we can to win."

Pittock was outstanding, turning aside 38 of 40 shots to earn his sixth win of the season. The 18-year-old from Innerkip allowed a second-period goal to Trevor Sweetland that tied the game 1-1 at the time.

Pittock collapsed after the final whistle, clutching his leg, but Morrison said it was a slash that hit a nerve and he is expected to be OK.

"He absolutely won the game for us," Morrison said.

Woodstock is off until Jan. 7 when it plays in Norwich.