Sharks Take a Bite Out of Blenheim
SUBMITTED BY BLENHEIM BLADES
WHEATLEY – It seems that in all sports a top team has a lower team that for whatever reason they just can’t beat.
In the case of the Provincial Junior Hockey League Stobbs Division for the Blenheim Blades it is the seventh-place Wheatley Sharks.
Monday night the Blades were in Wheatley to play the Sharks for the third time this season, and for the third time the results were pretty much the same – no win for the Blades. In their other two meetings the Sharks won 5-3 and the teams tied 4-4.
This time around it was a 6-4 defeat as the teams played short 13 players due to injuries and suspensions, with the Sharks having nine regulars out of the lineup and the Blades the same four as Sunday night – veterans Eric Stewardson, Zach Horvath, Matt Clark and Brayden Seliga.
The loss was the Blades second in as many nights and saw their record drop to 13-6-2 with their first place lead over the Lakeshore Canadiens remaining at two points. The Canadiens have played five fewer times than Blenheim.
For Blenheim the game was their third in three nights as their brutal PJHL schedule continued. Things will not get any better starting Friday when they travel to Dresden to play the Kings at 7:30 p.m. and then host Dresden Sunday at 7 p.m.
Following those two games in three days the Blades will be in Essex next Tuesday, home to Mooretown Thursday and home to Wallaceburg Saturday for their ‘Alumni Night’. That is five games in nine days and eight in 15 over-all.
Losing two normal home dates because of Christmas and New Year’s, Alvinston’s move to Petrolia and their home night change from Fridays to Thursdays, and the league starting a week later are all factors for the Blades schedule, and the other teams that play at home on weekends as well.
Monday night the Blades fell behind mid-way through the first period when Alixe Saliba scored at 8:58, with Bryce Broad evening things at 13:54 with an assist going to Braeden Allore. The goal was Broad’s eighth of the year.
There was no more scoring until 19:14 of the middle 20 minutes when Dustin Maines put the Blades up 2-1 with his seventh of the season assisted by Brayden Hopkins and Kier Cumming.
It didn’t take long for Wheatley to tie things in the third period with Jake Pickersgill scoring at 1:05, and Calyn Kir putting the Sharks ahead to stay at 5:55.
Nick Tavolieri-Essex upped the lead to 4-2 at 9:22.
Blades head coach Ken Shine pulled goalie Adam Craven with just a little less than two minutes to play and Tavolieri-Essex scored into the empty net at 18:24.
With Craven still on the bench the Blades then mounted a comeback that was almost successful when Cumming cut the Sharks lead to 5-3 at 18:53 with an assist going to Chris Hall, and six seconds later Nick Delyzer made it 5-4 assisted by Maines.
But that was as close as the Blades could get as Tavolieri-Essex scored another empty net goal with just nine seconds left to play.
The goal for Cumming was his 11th of the year giving him 29 points on the season, while for Delyzer it was his 15th to go with 26 points. Both goals came on the powerplay.
For Craven the game was his third in three nights, a tough hall for any goalie.
Both teams had 27 shots.
BLADES BITS: The game proved costly for the Blades as veteran defenceman Owen Bateman was assessed a game misconduct for abuse of an official and will have to serve a two-game suspension…Thursday, Nov. 24 will be South Kent Minor Hockey Association Night with players attending the game against the Mooretown Flags wearing their jerseys getting in for free…Saturday, Nov. 26 will be the Blades annual “Alumni Night” with three alumni games – 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. – followed by a PJHL Stobbs Division game against the Wallaceburg Lakers at 6:15…The annual “Skate With the Blades” will take place after the Sunday, Dec. 11 game against the Wheatley Sharks…The team will be holding another Quarter Auction Friday, Dec. 16 at the Blenheim Legion…Tickets are available in the lobby.