Positive trends continue for Petes
The results were mixed in the win/loss columns but some positive trends continued for the Peterborough Petes last week.
They had a rare Saturday and Sunday off following a 4-1 home ice win over the North Bay Battalion on Thursday and a 3-2 road loss to the Sudbury Wolves on Friday. The Petes return to action 7:05 p.m. Thursday when they host the Hamilton Bulldogs at the Memorial Centre on Teddy Bear Toss Night.
The Petes sit in fifth place in the OHL’s Eastern Conference with a 16-12-0 record. They visit the first place Ottawa 67’s on Sunday afternoon in their only other game this week.
On Friday, the Petes suffered just their second loss this season in 12 games when leading after two periods. Sudbury rallied from a 2-1 deficit scoring on a late power play to pull out the win.
“Sudbury came at us pretty hard,” said Petes’ head coach Rob Wilson, coaching his first OHL game in Sudbury where he played between 1985-88 before being traded to the Petes. “At times we did some good things but I don’t think it was our best night. We really struggled on faceoffs (39-21 advantage for Sudbury) which hurt us. We were chasing the game all night.
“We gave up a power play late which really hurt us. We’ve been on a good little run lately. We did enough to get something but not enough to win. Full credit to Sudbury. They played well.”
The bright spot for the Petes was the growing chemistry between Nick Robertson, who scored both goals in Sudbury, and Semyon Der-Arguchintsev who assisted on both.
Since being benched Nov. 17 for a -5 effort in Sarnia, Der-Arguchintsev has eight points and is a +10 in five games. It coincides with Robertson’s return to his line after being out with a wrist injury. Robertson has six goals, nine points and is a +7 in those five games. Declan Chisholm has eight points and is +9 in the same span. Der-Arguchintsev has worked hard to redeem himself on the defensive side of the puck. He’s improved from -17 after the Sarnia game to -7.
“That was my focus,” DerArguchintsev said. “Two weeks ago, I was -17. Obviously, points are important but that’s not what you think about on the ice. You’re just going out to play. You know the points will come. Plus-minus is something I needed to fix and be a plus player.”
On Thursday, the Petes held the OHL’s second leading scorer Justin Brazeau off the scoresheet. The Petes’ third best penalty kill stopped the Battalion’s topranked power play on both opportunities.
“Chis (Chisholm) and Fras (Cole Fraser) did a good job (Thursday) against Brazeau’s line keeping them away from the net and not giving them too many opportunities,” said Petes’ defensive coach Derrick Walser. “When you have a guy like Brazeau really tearing up the league you want to shut him down and make their other lines do the damage.
“Our PK is doing a good job right now. They’re battling. You don’t want to give them five or six opportunities and we did a good job limiting them to two and we got away with it.”
The line of Erik Cermak, who had a goal and assist, Cameron Butler and Liam Kirk paced the Petes against North Bay.
“We’ve been playing well,” said Butler. “We’re getting used to each other and have developed a chemistry between the three of us. It’s been working out well. It’s just talking to each other on the bench and on the ice and knowing where each other is going to be.”
Darian Pilon, left, of the Sudbury Wolves, and John Parker-Jones, of the Peterborough Petes, battle for position during OHL action at the Sudbury Community Arena on Friday.