Third-period woes continue to dog Terriers
It’s been their Achilles heel all year and, once again Sunday, it proved fatal for the Subaru of Orillia Terriers.
After rallying to tie the visiting Penetang Kings with two quick goals in the second period, the hard-working Terriers entered the third period with what looked like a legitimate chance at securing two points. But after a lacklustre final frame, in which the home team was badly outshot (16-8) and outscored (3-0), the Terriers found themselves on the wrong end of a 6-3 score.
The woeful final period was the continuation of an alarming season-long trend for the local Provincial Junior Hockey League team. In 19 games this season, the Terriers have been outscored 58-9 in third periods — it’s the primary reason the struggling team sits in last place in the Carruthers Division with a league-worst 3-16 record. Not once this year have the Terriers outscored the opposition in a third period.
Sunday night at the Rama MASK, in a game rescheduled from earlier in the season, the Terriers came out flat-footed. For much of the first period, the Kings hemmed the Terriers in their own end and poured 18 shots on net. If not for some strong play by netminder Derek Haourt, the game could have been out of reach early.
Midway through the frame, veteran Orillia forward Corey Miller scored one of the prettiest goals of the year, when the speedster slashed through the Penetang defence and broke in all alone on Kings goalie Jason Cumbo, who tried to poke-check Miller. The shifty forward quickly cut left and deposited the puck behind Cumbo to knot the score at 1-1. However, a minute later, the Kings exploded for two goals in 39 seconds and led 3-1 after one.
In the second, the Terriers returned the quick-strike favour as Will Skalosky and Nevin King scored in a 90-second span to knot the score. The home side played a solid period and went toe-to-toe with its Georgian Bay rivals in a well-played frame that featured plenty of opportunities and some determined play from both sides.
Then, the roof caved in — again — in the third as the Kings dominated the final 20 minutes to record their first road win as they improved to 7-7. Overall, the Kings outshot the Terriers 48-31.
It was a similar script Friday night for the Terriers, who were outshot 40-20 and outscored 2-0 in the third period as they dropped a 7-3 decision to the Midland Flyers at the North Simcoe Sports and Recreation Centre. Morgan Penwell took the loss between the pipes for the Terriers as Miller, Owen King and Taylor Magaw each netted single markers in the defeat.
The Terriers play one game this week — a Friday-night rematch with the Kings in Penetang. Orillia travels to Stayner (19-0) Nov. 23 and returns to Orillia for back-to-back home games: Nov. 25 against Schomberg (9-9) and Nov. 26 against Stayner.
Miller sits atop the team’s scoring race with 16 points in 18 games. A pair of rookies — Skalosky and Ben Schryer — share the team lead in goals with six apiece. Veteran forward Jake Beard, who has been sidelined for more than a month, was expected to return to the lineup this weekend, but was unable to suit up for Terriers.
Orillia has allowed a league-high 162 goals and scored the fewest: 48.