Monday, December 07th, 2009
Gades split the weekend
The Woodstock Renegades split a pair of weekend games, losing Friday in Norwich before rebounding with a win Saturday at home against New Hamburg.
Jordan Minello scored twice and assisted on Troy Aitken's third-period goal to lead Woodstock to a 5-2 win over the Firebirds.
Minello scored on the power play to open the scoring in the first period and added a shorthanded goal in the second period to make it 2-0 after 40 minutes.
Christian Babb and Cole Maher, with an empty-net goal, completed the Renegades' scoring.ted with one of the league's best teams but came up short.
Unlike recent overtime losses against Niagara east leaders Grimsby and Dundas, however, Friday's loss didn't bring with it any precious points.
"We've had a lot of those close ones," Renegades owner/general manager/interim head coach Bill McLeod said. "There was a lot of effort."
McLeod continues to coach the team in the absence of Dave McLaren, Dave Frey and Jack McLaren. The future of all three remains unclear, but the team has played well in its short time with McLeod behind the bench.
"In six games we've been in every game," he said. "It's because the players have decided to play. They've made a commitment to play hard every shift."
After winning the first two games of the Battle of 59, Woodstock has lost its last two decisions to its county rival.
Friday's pace had a playoff feel, which didn't go unnoticed by the players.
"It was a pretty good atmosphere out there, a pretty good game all around" Gegeny said. "It would be great to play them in the playoffs. Last year (Norwich won in six games) was a good atmosphere. It would be great to come up with an upset, too."
In order for that to happen, the Renegades will need to rekindle their scoring touch.
Gegeny did his part to keep Woodstock in the game, making 36 saves.
Addison Fisher opened the scoring for Norwich in the second period, banging home a rebound for what turned out to be the game winner.
Gegeny was flawless after that, turning aside each chance until Ben Pearson's screened shot from the point late in the third deflected past the second-year goalie for an insurance marker.
Woodstock could barely muster any pressure in the third period and was outshot 19-5 in the final frame and 38-24 overall.
"It's the same job, just to go out and give my team a chance," Gegeny said. "I don't worry about scoring goals."
While Woodstock is still searching for some offensive consistency, the defensive part of its game seems to be taking shape.
"Our penalty kill is a lot better," Gegeny said. "We've tightened up defensively a lot in the last five games or so."
Norwich played the type of high pressure, tight-checking hockey that has become the team's staple the last several years.
It found a willing opponent in Woodstock, but, like Grimsby and Dundas two weeks ago, it found a way to win.
"We're right there with them," Gegeny said. "Losing one-goal games, all of them could have gone either way."
Woodstock (10-9-3) remains stuck in third place in the Niagara west. The Renegades host Simcoe Friday at 7:30 p.m.