Coming off a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime loss to the league-leading Brampton Blues, Hamilton Junior Red Wings are in Burlington Friday night for their first meeting with the Cougars.
A win would give Hamilton some valuable space between them and Burlington, even at this early stage of the Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League season. Hamilton sits in third place with 11 points, two ahead of fourth place Burlington. But Hamilton has played two extra games. While each team has four wins, Hamilton has picked up the extra points from a tie and a pair of OT losses.
Friday’s game could be a defensive battle. Each team has allowed only 17 goals. Hamilton has scored 35 goals to Burlington’s 30, but that’s with the two additional games for the Red Wings.
In Hamilton’s last game, Spencer Abbott picked up his seventh goal (and 12th point of the season) in eight games to give Hamilton a 1-0 lead almost seven minutes into the second period with a shorthanded effort. Keagan Rue and Mike Galbraith picked up assists.
The lead was short lived with Brampton knotting the contest four minutes later.
It took the Blues less than two minutes into the third period to grab the lead but with 18 seconds left in regulation time Josh Van Dyke notched his second goal of the season to send the game into the extra period. Scott Duncan and Frankie Grandits had the assists, the seventh of the year for both players.
Brampton won the game with 11 seconds left in OT. The teams each had 24 shots on net but the Blues had three in OT to the Red Wings zero. The league’s tough stance on penalties showed its head again. A total of 23 minor penalties, one five-minute major and a 10-minute misconduct were assessed.
Friday’s game in Burlington starts at 7.30 p.m. at Central Arena. From Burlington the Red Wings will go to Georgetown for a game Saturday night against the Raiders. The Red Wings are back at the Mountain Arena on Monday (Oct. 2) when the Buffalo Jr. Sabres arrive for a 7:30 p.m. game.