Buoyed by a big and enthusiastic crowd, the Orillia Terriers jumped out to a fast start in Game 3 of their best-of-seven playoff series against the Penetang Kings Saturday night at Rotary Place.
Orillia native Kyle Heitzner and Kobe Roe gave those fans lots to cheer about when they scored within the game's first five minutes. Roe added two more goals to secure the hat trick as the Terriers skated to a 4-2 victory and a one-game advantage heading into Game 4.
Terriers head coach Dallyn Telford credited the fast start to the boisterous crowd that jammed into Rotary Place Saturday night.
“We had a great crowd and I think our guys fed off that early," said the first-year bench boss.
Heitzner also recognized the home-town support, saying it's crucial to the team’s success.
“It was great hometown support from everybody, we hope everyone keeps coming out, we are going to need it down the stretch," said Heitzner who is the Terriers' leading point-getter through the first three games of the playoffs.
Heitzner has had a bizarre year. He was traded by the OHL’s Barrie Colts to Mississauga before opting to come home to chase a championship with his hometown Jr. C team.
However, he hasn't been able to play much. He missed almost two months with a foot injury and also served a 10-game suspension. He is happy to be playing and contributing once more.
“It was great to be back on the ice. Everything that has happened with the suspension has been hard on me and my family,” said Heitzner.
“I’m coming back with a positive attitude and I’m going to do as much as I can to help this team win.”
Midway through the third period, Heitzner blocked a shot off his knee and limped off the ice. It was as if the air was sucked out of the building as fans worried the bad luck had struck again.
Fortunately, it was just a scare, and Heitzner was able to shake it off for his next shift.
Heitzner said that despite his tough roller coaster season, he isn’t being cautious on the ice, but rather playing with an all-in attitude.
“I wanted to lay it all out on the line for the boys," said the feisty forward. "I want to play a big role, and at the end of the day it’s the little things that are going to take us deep.”
The Terriers were once again missing captain Jake Beard who is rehabbing a separated shoulder. Telford says Beard could be back for Game 4 on Tuesday.
Rookie defenceman Ayden Dooley is still trying to recover from a finger injury that could take up to three weeks to heal. But Dooley told OrilliaMatters that he expects to be back sooner.
The short-handed Terriers look to take a commanding 3-1 series lead on the Kings Tuesday night.
“We need the same effort; we need a contribution from every single player in our room,” Telford said.
“The difference for us tonight (Saturday) was every single guy in our room did something to help us win. If we do that again Tuesday, we will be in good shape to go up 3-1," said the coach.
Puck drop for Tuesday’s game four is 7:40 p.m. at Rotary Place.
TERRIER TALES: In a bit of a surprise move, the Kings started former Terrier Andrew Couling between the pipes for Game 3. He stopped 43 of 47 shots. For Orillia, Jason Cumbo had another strong game in net, stopping 43 of 45 shots to backstop the victory. Roe had eight goals in 23 regular-season games for the Terriers and now has five points in three playoff games. Official attendance for Saturday night's contest was 442 at Rotary Place.