Early bird gets the worm for the Petes

Michael Lit­tle scores win­ning goal as Petes edge Hamil­ton Bull­dogs in rare morn­ing school day game

The Peterborough Examiner - - SPORTS - MIKE DAVIES EX­AM­INER SPORTS DI­REC­TOR mike.davies @pe­ter­bor­ough­daily.com

Those early morn­ing prac­tices paid off for the Peter­bor­ough Petes in a rare 10:30 a.m. start for a Hamil­ton Bull­dogs School Day game.

With 8,777 scream­ing stu­dents from Hamil­ton-Went­worth schools on hand, the Petes took over sole pos­ses­sion of first place in the OHL with a 4-3 win at the FirstOn­tario Cen­tre.

With the Petes high school stu­dents hav­ing a first pe­riod spare the team has shifted most of its prac­tices to 8:30 a.m. this sea­son. So an early start didn’t bother the Petes whose re­lent­less pres­sure even­tu­ally wore down Hamil­ton.

The Petes trailed 2-1 af­ter 20 min­utes but fired 47 shots at goalie Mario Costan­tini, in­clud­ing 22 in the sec­ond pe­riod, and cap­tain Zach Gal­lant led the way with two goals.

The Petes im­proved to 15-5-1 mov­ing one point ahead of the Ot­tawa 67’s for first place and two ahead of the Oshawa Gen­er­als and Sud­bury Wolves. The Petes host the Kingston Fron­te­nacs

7:05 p.m. Thurs­day and the Kitch­ener Rangers on Satur­day.

“We talked about it be­fore the game,” said Michael Lit­tle, who had the win­ning goal and an as­sist, “that prac­tis­ing in the morn­ing has re­ally helped us. It’s more pro­fes­sional. It gets us up early and ev­ery­one’s day started early and it played a huge role today. It was loud for both teams and we def­i­nitely got some en­ergy off it.”

Petes goalie Hunter Jones got off to a rocky start when Arthur Kaliyev beat him with a short from the cor­ner from be­hind the red line 2:16 into the game.

The Petes fourth line tied the game at 10:31. Kee­gan Mc­Mullen spun and fired a shot on goal and Tucker Robert­son banged in the re­bound from the side of the crease.

Hamil­ton re­gained the lead with 1:20 left in the first. Nathan Staios fired a shot from the point and in a scram­ble Jan Jenyk tapped the puck over the goal-line. Jenyk is on a 21-game points streak.

The Petes picked up their game in the sec­ond pe­riod and ap­plied all kinds of pres­sure. Rookie J.R. Avon had a glo­ri­ous chance in front but had the stick slashed out of his hands giv­ing them their first power play.

They made it count as Gal­lant parked him­self in front of the net to de­flect Ma­son McTav­ish’s shot home at 7:02.

“Our forecheck was re­ally good and we turned over a lot of pucks,” said Petes coach Rob Wil­son. “When you keep that type of pres­sure on you’re go­ing to get re­warded. When we play like that we’re very ef­fec­tive. We could have been a lit­tle more clin­i­cal around the net but I thought we were very good.”

The Petes took the led with 1:38 left in the sec­ond. Gal­lant took Lit­tle’s pass to break in on Costan­tini and beat him with a back­hand.

Lit­tle dou­bled the lead 1:56 into the third pot­ting Ja­cob Pa­que­tte’s re­bound.

The Petes sur­vived three con­sec­u­tive penal­ties in­clud­ing an 80-sec­ond five-on-three. Jones stopped Kaliyev on a one-timer and Lo­gan Mor­ri­son on a point­blank chance.

Jenyk took over the OHL scor­ing lead from Kaliyev when he crossed into the slot and snapped a short-handed goal

past Jones on an odd-man rush with 4:22 left.

NOTES: The Petes re­mained ranked as the 10th best ju­nior team in Canada in the CHL Top rank­ings re­leased Wed­nes­day night. It’s the third time this sea­son they’ve made the Top 10. The Wind­sor Spit­fires were sixth, the Oshawa Gen­er­als sev­enth and the Ot­tawa 67’s were ninth, while the Guelph Storm were an hon­ourable men­tion ....

The Wawanesa In­surance Toy Drive toy drive will come to the Me­mo­rial Cen­tre on Dec. 14 when the Petes host Ni­a­gara…. Nick Robert­son (fin­ger) and Shawn Spearing (wrist) re­mained out of the lineup Wed­nes­day.… The three stars were1. Zach Gal­lant (P); 2. Jan Jenyk (H); 3. Michael Lit­tle

(P).

GARY YOKOYAMA THE HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

Sand­wiched be­tween Peter­bor­ough Petes Max Grondin, left, and Liam Kirk, Hamil­ton Bull­dog Jan Jenik looks for an op­por­tu­nity dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s 4-3 Petes win.

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