When they score in bunches, the Langton Lions Club novice rep hockey team is hard to stop.
Langton rallied from an early 3-0 deficit Thursday in Thamesford in their OMHA DD championship opener, but ran out of time in a close 5-4 loss.
The six-point finals continued Saturday afternoon in front of a very loud – and very patient – crowd at the Langton Arena. Delayed one hour waiting for referees to arrive, when it started Thamesford was quick out of the gate. Codi Scott gave the visitors a 1-0 lead 1:42 in and Thamesford added two more goals later in the period to make it 3-0.
"The last one (Thursday) was closer in the final score than today, and I'd say it was a closer game overall, too," said Langton Lions coach Kevin Vanacker after Saturday's 7-3 loss in Game 2. "Last game we were down 3-0 and then we got two quick ones, and that got us fired back in."
Just over five minutes into the second period Saturday, Alex Deroo got one back and – like it did Thursday – it seemed to fire up the Lions. But it was a short-lived spark. Thamesford replied with a pair of goals, two minutes apart, and finished the period with a 6-1 lead.
With time running out, Deroo scored two more with 6:21 and 5:54 left the third. His hat-trick goal came on the back end of a five-on-three power play.
And the Lions were roaring.
Langton nearly added two more when Deroo hit the left goal-post with a low wrist shot on another rush, and they bounced a deflected shot just over the crossbar from the slot. Teammate Marek Vanacker flashed down the left wing and successfully fought his way to the net, but his shot was just over the crossbar. Luke Dockx, Kyle DeVos and more also had good shots in the final minutes.
Thamesford's Emmett Gedies put his personal stamp on the game scoring his fourth goal of the day on a breakaway to seal the win.
"They (Thamesford) have got some good players, and they had a good effort all-around from their whole team," credited Langton's coach.
Game 3 goes Sunday afternoon in Thamesford (4 p.m.), and scoring first will be a priority for Langton.
"It's a huge advantage for us to get the first one," said Vanacker. "The kids seem to have more life in them. We talked to them about how important it is to get pucks on net – early. That's something we didn't do today. I don't think we had more than one shot in the first period, if that. You can't get goals if you can't get shots."
What Thamesford does very well, he said, is take away the middle of the ice.
"We try cutting the middle and their D is blocking the middle. They defend up the middle really well, so we've got to try to come up with some strategies..."
The players were already starting to make those adjustments late in the game – it's how Deroo scored his third goal, going wide on Thamesford's right D before quickly cutting back to score on a wrist shot. And how Marek Vanacker crashed down the left wing, and Jax Van Es went deep down the right wing...
"Wide angles," nodded coach Kevin Vanacker.
"Their two defencemen, they get close together, so they give us room. We can beat the defence, but we've got to get the puck to that point and we've got to have enough energy to continue through.
"Again, we've got to get a quick start and we've got to get some shots on the goalie and get the rebounds."
Game 4, if necessary, is back in Langton Wednesday night at 7 p.m. However, if Thamesford wins Sunday they will be the 2014 OMHA DD novice champions.
Thamesford 7, Langton 3
Thamesford scoring: 1. Codi Scott; 2. Emmett Gedies; 3. Codi Scott (Jaxson Vandevenne); 4. Myles Martin (Carter Froggett); 5. Emmett Gedies (Michael Verhoeven); 6. Emmett Gedies (Myles Martin); 7. Emmett Gedies (Jaxson Vandevenne, Michael Verhoeven).
Langton scoring: 1. Alex Deroo (Austyn McDowell, Jack Pettit); 2. Alex Deroo (Jack Pettit, Kyle DeVos); 3. Alex Deroo.