Sports

Norwich Merchants lose to New Hamburg but beat Paris

By Colin Percy

The Norwich Merchants closed out their road portion of the schedule for 2016 with a pair of contests over the Dec. 17 weekend.

On Friday, Dec. 16, the team traveled to New Hamburg to take on the Firebirds and things did not start well for Norwich. The Firebirds scored the game's first three goals including two short-handed markers in the first 12:50 of the game. Mason Cooper got Norwich on the board with his 13th of the season with 2:56 left in the first period. New Hamburg would answer back late in the frame to lead 4-1 after 20 minutes. New Hamburg scored again early in the third, but Derek Slaght cut the lead to three at the 4:32 mark of the second period. The Firebirds answered back 26 seconds later to restore the four-goal lead.

Troy Lamoure would find the back of the net twice in the second to make it 6-4, but the Firebirds potted one in the final second of the period to take a three-goal lead into the dressing room after 40 minutes. New Hamburg added an eighth goal 5:18 into the final period, but Norwich wasn't done yet. Brett Parsons and Dylan Smart scored in a 45-second span giving Norwich hope in the final 10 minutes, but that hope wouldn't come to fruition. The Firebirds scored once more to win the game 9-6. Slaght, Brandon Velda, Ray Munro, Jon Damm (2), Daniel Rizzo, Blake Pow (2), Jordan Gillis and Ryan Dayman had assists for Norwich while Tyler Gubesch and Tysen Taylor each made 12 saves in the loss.

Norwich looked to rebound Saturday night, Dec. 17 in Paris and rebound they did. Gillis scored 1:34 into the game before Parson made it 2-0 with 6:25 to go in the first. Gillis buried his second of the night 10 seconds later and Slaght closed out the period with his ninth of the season in the final minute to give Norwich a commanding 4-0 lead after 20 minutes. Pow scored his 11th of the season 1:13 into the second and Gillis completed his hat trick 18 seconds later. Paris finally got on the board at the 8:09 mark of the period and found their second 1:04 later.

Munro made it 7-2 with 8:21 left before Paris add a third goal 2:11 later. Slaght would bury his second of the season with 4:01 left to lead by five after the second period. Damm scored the lone third period goal to clinch the 9-3 win for Norwich who now join the Ayr Centennials as the only other team in the Doherty Division to own a victory against all eight opposing teams in the division. Parsons (2), Pow, Munro, Lamoure, Thomas Hogg (2), Riley Monture, Velda and Gillis had the assists for Norwich while Gubesch made 30 saves to earn his eighth win of the season.

Norwich now prepare for their final game before Christmas when the host the eighth place Burford Bulldogs on Friday night at 8 p.m. This night will also feature the team's annual Christmas Chili Party following the game that features Shirley Miller's “World Famous Chili” along with some pizzas courtesy of Boston Pizza in Woodstock. All are welcome to attend. Norwich wraps up 2016 on Friday, Dec. 30 when they host Wellesley also at 8 p.m.

OVERTIME

The Norwich Merchants would like to wish a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all their fans, sponsors and volunteers.