Early bird gets the worm for the Petes
Michael Little scores winning goal as Petes edge Hamilton Bulldogs in rare morning school day game
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
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.