Merchants lose to Paris but beat Wellesley
The Norwich Merchants looked to continue their climb up the Doherty Division standings while trying to put some distance between clubs lower than them with a pair of games against Paris and Wellesley.
Paris came to town Friday night, Nov. 25 and kick started the scoring 2:31 into the game with a short-handed tally. The Mounties quickly made it 2-0 mid-way through the first and added their second short-handed goal of the game seconds later before Norwich responded when Blake Pow notched his sixth goal of the season. Paris would respond with two more goals in the first period to lead 5-1 after 20 minutes.
Jesse Dunn clawed one back for Norwich 11 seconds into the middle frame. Brett Parsons cut the deficit to two with his sixth goal of the season 10:24 later, but Paris' third short-handed goal of the game with 1:01 left put a dagger in Norwich's hearts. The Mounties would score once more in the third period to defeat the Merchants 7-3. Jordan Gillis, Daniel Rizzo, Brandon Velda, Pow and Troy Lamoure had assists for Norwich while Tyler Gubesch made seven saves and Tysen Taylor 18 saves in the loss.
On Saturday, Nov. 26, Norwich made their final trip to Wellesley for the season and for the second straight night Norwich fell behind early when the Apple Jacks scored 3:47 into the game. Ray Munro equalized for Norwich 2:53 later and Daniel Rizzo gave Norwich the lead 4:54 after that. Wellesley re-tied the game 44 seconds later to send the teams to the dressing room notched at deuces following the first period.
Munro restored Norwich's lead 6:22 into the second period and Mason Cooper rifled home his 11th of the season with 4:33 remaining. Wellesley would cut Norwich's lead to one late in the period setting up an exciting third period. The action started quickly when the Jacks scored 39 seconds into the third. The two teams then traded power play opportunities, but neither could capitalize on them. The 10:39 mark of the period saw Riley Monture wire his sixth of the season that turned out to be the game winner as Norwich edged the Apple Jacks 5-4. Thomas Hogg, Derek Slaght, Matt Caskanette, Parsons (2), Monture and Velda recorded assists for Norwich while Gubesch made 25 saves to earn the win in the game that saw Norwich outshoot Wellesley 54-29.
The Norwich Merchants will now prepare for a touch contest against the first place Ayr Centennials at the Nor-Del Arena on Friday night at 8 p.m. That game is also Norwich's annual teddy bear and winter clothing toss night where after Norwich's first goal of the game, fans are encouraged to toss stuffed animals and articles of winter clothing that will be distributed to local charities this holiday season. On Saturday night the team travels to Woodstock for a 7:45 p.m. game against the Navy Vets.
The Norwich Merchants will be participating in the Norwich Santa Claus parade this Saturday that begins at 1 p.m. and will feature Merchant players along with a float.