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Junior Hockey

Norwich wins Boxing Day Classic

Jacob Robinson

By Jacob Robinson, Simcoe Reformer

Norwich Merchants defenceman Dalton Alford celebrates his first junior hockey goal during a 7-0 victory in the Boxing Day Classic vs. Delhi at Nor-Del Arena. Alford, Jordan Everets and Kyle Sault each tallied their first goals of the season. (JACOB ROBINSON Simcoe Reformer)

Norwich Merchants defenceman Dalton Alford celebrates his first junior hockey goal during a 7-0 victory in the Boxing Day Classic vs. Delhi at Nor-Del Arena. Alford, Jordan Everets and Kyle Sault each tallied their first goals of the season. (JACOB ROBINSON Simcoe Reformer)

NORWICH - 

The Norwich Merchants cashed in a three-for-one special on Boxing Day.

 

With the Delhi Travellers at Nor-Del Arena Friday for the Boxing Day Classic, three Merchants notched their first goals of the Midwestern Jr. C season in a 7-0 victory before 270 fans.

Those tallies – provided by Kyle Sault, Dalton Alford and Jordan Everets - not only powered the Merchants to a third straight win, but were extra special for Alford and Everets being their first at the junior level.

“It felt great, my first Jr. C goal - I felt awesome,” said Everets, the Simcoe native who notched his team's third of the game. “It got the team fired up, it was a big win in the Boxing Day Classic.”

For many years, the Travellers had been the ones to host a Boxing Day game, but both Norwich and Delhi hatched a plan to share the event after being put in the same division last season.

The Merchants relished the opportunity to perform before family and friends.

“Oh yeah,” Everets said when asked if the game meant more than an average regular season affair. “I think we all had our family out there. I had some aunts, uncles and cousins (in the stands). It was awesome having everyone here.”

Early on, it appeared as though the hard luck Travellers would challenge for their first point of the season. Sitting on the cusp of 30 losses in 30 tries, Delhi bent but didn't break, allowing a single goal in the opening period. Playing with just three lines and four defence, the floodgates opened in the second as Norwich scored three times to effectively put the game out of reach.

Unfortunately for the Travellers, playing shorthanded has been a common thread the past few weeks.

“The month of December we've been playing with two or three lines, just with injuries, people getting sick – that's all it is,” explained Delhi forward Colin Van Daele. “We've had a good group of guys, despite our record we haven't had any of them quit on us, it's just a lot of injuries.”

Van Daele had the two best chances to break the eventual shutout posted by Justin Pacheco, but was denied by the Norwich keeper after a slick move around a defender in the second, and just missed a partial break in the third. The veteran forward liked what he saw from a young Delhi group in the opening frame.

“If we're down one or two goals going into the first intermission, we're looking at it as a positive for right now. It's been a tough year but we played with them in the first period,” he said.

While positives have been tougher to come by in Delhi this season, the team is staying upbeat. In fact, Van Daele predicted the club would put a notch in the win column sooner rather than later.

“For sure, we have ten more games left and I know we're going to get a couple W's out of it. Especially when we get a full team back together,” he said.

“We're 0-30, (but) people understand we're going to get our first W, I know it. I'm 100 percent positive we're going to get that first W.”

Sitting in fifth place in the league, Norwich is three points behind Burford and five back of Woodstock with three and two games in hand respectively. In their quest to move up the standings, Everets said the group got a major boost from their first goal getters on Friday.

“It fires everyone up, it gives everyone some confidence in themselves – 'Alfie' scored a nice one from the point and Sault got his first,” he said. “It gives the team a little bit more motivation and a little bit more confidence in everybody.”

Darcey Butler, Mitchell Berzins, Troy Lamoure and captain Braeden Shand also scored for the Merchants.

Jacob Robinson

519-426-3528 ext. 112

jacob.robinson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/JacobReformer 


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