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Hockey Central

Division 1 - Game Summaries

January 7th, 2022

New Year, New Start for Manulife
After a rough start for the men in green, Manulife started 2022 with a come from behind win at the expense of the young RBC Lions. The RBC Lions were in a similar boat with a slow start but there were signs of improvement in their play.

It was Manulife that opened the scoring when newcomer Francois Esterhuizen beat goaltender Zac Peter on a mad scramble in front of the goal. Francois was recently acquired in the dispersal draft when the Lake of the Woods team entered the league during the Christmas holiday.

The second period was all Lions. They scored 2 quick goals early in the period, just 48 seconds apart. Owen Kwok beat goaltender Ray Loo after a nice pass from Whitney Olsen while Caden Wee's goal was on an individual effort and all of a sudden, the Lions took a 2-1 lead. They added that lead at the 10:14 mark when Samuel Wong scored on a breakaway as he undressed Loo.

The third period was a wild one. Right off the opening face-off, Wong stole the puck off of Blake Steele and was all alone on Loo. On the play, Steele hooked Wong on his breakaway but Wong managed to break through and ripped a shot in the top corner to give the Lions a commanding 4-1 lead. However, the Lions forgot that there was still a whole period to go before the end of the game.

Manulife chipped away at the lead beginning with Steele as he dearly wanted to make up for his early mistake. Steele made it 4-2 and then Darren Hynes' point shot beat Peter and now we have a one goal game. You can feel in the atmosphere that the Lions were just clinging onto their lead and Manulife had the momentum. This is where Steele redeemed himself by scoring the tying goal with just over 7 minutes left and then the game winner with just under 3 minutes to go completing his hat trick. It was a dagger to the hearts of the Lions as they played so well for most of the game.

Loo kept his team in it long enough for the comeback as he stopped 16. His counterpart, Peter had a solid game despite the let down in the third period, stopped 32.

The Three Stars:
1. Blake Steele (Manulife)
2. Jeff Griffin (Manulife)
3. Samuel Wong (RBC Lions)

HKBN Spoils LOTW's Debut
The Lake of the Woods (LOTW) team made their SCIHL Division 1 debut as they replaced AsiaXpat during the Christmas break. They got off to a great start scoring 3 times before the game was 7 minutes old. Bradley Wilson, Greg Smyth and Patrik Hammaren were able to solve goaltender Dean Tzemblikos for a 3-0 lead.

The break seemed to affect HKBN more but they finally got it going in the second period. Dennis Toews scored on a power play as he beat goaltender Evan Thorpe to close the gap to 2. Scott Strickland got one back for LOTW when he deflected a centering pass from Kosuke Ikeda and Hammaren then scored his second of the night to give LOTW a commanding 5-1 lead. Just 32 seconds later, Jon Szychta replied to keep HKBN close.

Then early in the third period, Szychta scored his second of the night to make it 5-3. Shortly afterwards, Smyth scored his second of the night on a power play to restore LOTW’s 3 goal lead with 14 minutes left in the game. It was at this point when HKBN mounted their comeback. Whitney Olsen made it 6-4 and Szychta scored another one for his hat trick but more importantly, closed the gap to 1 with plenty of time left on the clock. LOTW got into penalty trouble with just over 5 minutes remaining and opened the door for Szychta. He blasted a shot inside the faceoff dot that just went through the arms of Thorpe to tie the game.

Off to an exciting 3 on 3 overtime period however, neither team was able to beat the goalies. In the shootout, after Smyth and Szychta exchanged goals, Olsen scored the winner to keep HKBN perfect with a 10-0 record.

The Three Stars:
1. Jonathan Szychta (HKBN)
2. Mike Vander Kooi (HKBN)
3. Patrik Hammaren (LOTW)