Blades Beat Flyers; Playoffs Start Thursday
SUBMITTED BY THE BLENHEIM BLADES
Blenheim Blades wrapped up their 40-game regular Provincial Junior Hockey League Stobbs Division season Sunday night at the Blenheim Arena by beating the Petrolia Flyers 7-4 before 365 fans.
The win gives the fourth-place finishing Blades 24 on the season against 14 defeats and two ties, and marks the fifth straight year the club has won 21 or more games after many seasons with sub .500 per cent losing records.
Last year the Blades were 25-13-1-2, while picking up 21 victories each in 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. Since 2012-13 the Blades are 138-82-7-7.
Blenheim will now begin the trek towards winning a league title when they host the Dresden Kings Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Blenheim arena. Game 2 of the best-of-seven quarter-final series will be Monday in Dresden at 7:30, with Game 3 back in Blenheim Thursday at 7.
In the other Stobbs Division quarter-final best-of-seven series regular season champion Lakeshore Canadiens will play the Flyers, while second-place Essex ’73s take on the Mooretown Flags and the third-place Amherstburg Admirals face the Wheatley Sharks.
In Sunday’s win three Blades played their last regular season Junior hockey game – forwards Brayden Hopkins and Matt Clark, and defenceman Owen Bateman – and all three figured in the scoring.
Hopkins and Clark each scored their 13th goals of the season, while Bateman picked up an assist. Hopkins added two assists and Clark one.
Petrolia, who finished in eighth place, grabbed a 1-0 first period lead on a goal by Jack Hackett.
The Blades then came out and scored three straight times by 10:31 of the second period, with Clark scoring from Hopkins and Kier Cumming at 2:47, Cumming from Michael Vanek and John Montgomery at 6:16, and Nick Delyzer from Austin Bentley and Bateman at 10:31.
The goal for Cumming was his 24th, while Delyzer’s was his 27th.
For fans who thought the game was pretty much over at 3-1 they were definitely wrong as the Flyers scored three times before the period ended to take a 4-3 edge into the third frame.
The goals came from Kirklin Dorman at 12:58, Zack VanEyk at 13:31 and Kole Keating at 19:24.
The Blades then came out and put the game away with three third-period tallies.
Bryce Broad scored his 13th of the season at 2:08 to tie things at 4-4 with assists going to Hopkins and Delyzer.
Delyzer’s 28th of the year at 7:02 proved to be the winner assisted by Bentley and Brayden Seliga.
Bentley then scored his fifth since coming to the Blades from the Kings in December at 11:48 assisted by Broad and Delyzer, with Hopkins wrapping up the scoring into an empty Petrolia net with 43 seconds to play.
Clark and Cumming assisted on the Hopkins goal.
The game was a tame affair with just three minor penalties called, all against Blenheim.
Eric Stewardson picked up his 18th win of the year in the Blenheim net.
BLADES BITS: The Blades played nine games in January and won seven times…They are now 9-2-0 since December 21…Cumming led the team in points with 55 on 24 goals and 31 assists, while Delyzer had the most goals at 28 to go with 51 points…Hopkins was a point-a-game guy with 40 thanks to 13 goals and 27 assists, while Drew Marlatt was close at 38 points on 14 goals and 24 assists…Bentley in his 12 games with the Blades totaled 21 points on five goals and 16 assists…Monday night the Blades Alumni will be holding a steak night at the Blenheim Legion beginning at 6 p.m.