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'Right there with them': Terriers stung by Hornets in close game

'We played great tonight. Just one more bounce went their way than it did ours,' said Terriers captain after narrow defeat at hands of division leaders

The McLean & Dickey Orillia Terriers were stung by the Alliston Hornets 2-1 on Saturday night. It was the second time in the last three games that the local Jr. C club lost to their North Carruthers Division rivals.

The first period could be described as a car crash. The Hornets brought the physicality to the Terriers, punishing all puck carriers in their defensive zone. The Terriers were not afraid to push back. Each team took three penalties during the intense opening frame at Rotary Place. 

"They are a very skilled team," Terriers' captain Dylan Palomaki said of the perennially strong Hornets. "You've got to have a good work ethic and grind them down little by little to have a chance."

The Hornets were the first to the scoreboard, just past the midway point of the first, capitalizing on a giveaway at the Terriers’ blue line; forward Jaeden French dished a cross-crease pass over to Barrie forward Duncan Grube who scored his 12th goal in only his 13th game of the season.

"They have a big franchise, and a lot of players want to play for their team," Palomaki said. "They get a lot of good guys who drop down from Jr. A and Jr. B. They always seem to pick up a few of those guys."

The Terriers dominated the end of the first period and out-shot the visitors 7-5. However, in the dying seconds, a Hornets' player was interfered with on a breakaway chance by Terriers' defenceman Caiden Pattenden.

The Hornets came out of the dressing room buzzing, peppering Terriers’ goaltender Aidan Jerry with five shots in the first minute of the second period. Finally, off a rebound, the Hornets and Grube struck again on the power play, expanding the home team’s deficit to two.

Just two minutes later, Terriers forward Devon Edmonds was tripped up by a Hornets defender while driving the net. He was awarded a penalty shot, bringing the home crowd of 280 to its collective feet.

"When I saw it was called a penalty shot I told myself that I have to score this," Edmonds said. "I needed to get one for the boys to make it a closer game."

Edmonds faked a shot, went to his backhand, and beat Hornets goalie Rod Lewis past his pads by going back to his forehand.

"It was an instant rush when it went in," Edmonds said.

After being dominated for what felt like most of the beginning of the second period, the Terriers were able to skate with the Hornets and keep the game within striking distance but failed to cash in on a few big scoring chances.

The Terriers' best chance at tying things up came midway through the final frame on a Devon Edmonds breakaway that was steered aside by Lewis who stopped 20 of 21 shots on Saturday night.    

"I knew he thought I was going to go forehand," Edmonds explained. "I tried to go backhand but he made the stop. It is what it is."

With 90 seconds left, the Terriers made one final push, swarming Lewis’ crease with several high-danger scoring chances, but they would ultimately fall short.

The Terriers now sit in third place in the North Carruthers Division, sitting 11 points back of the Hornets who are in first place.

"They have one of the more skilled teams in the league," Palomaki said. "They are faster, quicker, and play more heads-up hockey."

Despite the annual dominance of the division by both the Hornets and the second-placed Stayner Siskins, Palomaki believes the Terriers could dethrone the two powerhouse Provincial Junior Hockey League clubs in the playoffs.

"Nobody is impossible to beat," he said. "We played great tonight, we were right there with them, and just one more bounce went their way than it did ours." 

The Terriers’ regular season is coming to a close as they have just six games remaining on their schedule. The Terriers' next home game is Saturday, Feb. 10 versus Innisfil. Game time is 7:30 p.m. at Rotary Place is west Orillia.


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Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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