Sports

Merchants rebound from opening loss

By Colin Percy

Delhi Travellers Ethan Hurst, right, controls the puck in front of Norwich Merchants Seth Lamoure in Norwich on Fridaym Sept. 22. Norwich won 2-0 and then tied the New Hamburg Firebirds 3-3.

Delhi Travellers Ethan Hurst, right, controls the puck in front of Norwich Merchants Seth Lamoure in Norwich on Fridaym Sept. 22. Norwich won 2-0 and then tied the New Hamburg Firebirds 3-3.

The Norwich Merchants 50th season kicked off in almost perfect fashion after the team's Fan Fest went over extremely positive and the Nor-Del Arena was packed with fans. The only damper was a 5-3 loss to Woodstock in the homer opener.

Norwich attempted to rectify that loss in week two of the season with tilts against Delhi and New Hamburg.

The Delhi Travellers came to town Friday night, Sept. 22, in front of another large contingent of fans in the Nor-Del Arena.

The first period saw Norwich outshoot Delhi 14-5, but the scoreboard showed zeroes after 20 minutes. The Merchants dominated the second period, outshooting the Travellers 20-1, but could only muster one goal as Brandon Velda poked home a marker 9:19 into the middle frame. The third period saw both teams ping pucks off the iron without going in the net. Damon Lemmon whistled a shot home from the point with 6:57 remaining to put the game to rest as Norwich won 2-0 while outshooting Delhi 46-13. Mason Cooper, Troy Lamoure and Blake Pow notched assists while Brandon McIntosh stopped all 13 shots to earn his first ever junior victory and shutout.

Norwich played their first road game of the season Sept. 23 when they took on the New Hamburg Firebirds.

New Hamburg kickstarted the scoring 7:07 into the game thanks to a short-handed goal. Cooper found an equalizer 10 minutes later and buried his second of the night two minutes into the second period to give Norwich their first lead of the contest. The Firebirds notched the game at deuces six minutes later and broke the deadlock a minute after that. Pow clawed one back for Norwich 44 seconds later as the teams headed into the third tied at 3.

The squads traded chances in the final period, but the game remained deadlocked after 60 minutes forcing Norwich into overtime for the first time this season. The Merchants dominated the seven-minute-long extra frame consisting of three-on-three action, which saw Norwich out-shoot New Hamburg 7-1, but couldn't find a game winner walking away with their first tie game in over a year. Cooper, Sam Davies (2), Pow and Velda had the assists for Norwich while Tyler Gubesch made 40 saves in the loss.

Norwich's faced Tavistock Friday in the first of six alumni nights being held in the team's 50th season. Former players from the first decade of Merchants hockey (1968/69-77/78) will be honoured during an intermission that includes members from the 1969/70 Junior D Championship team.

On Saturday, Norwich travelled to Paris for a game against the Mounties. Results of those games were not available as of press time.

OVERTIME

The Norwich Merchants are seeking former players, coaches, executive and bench staff to sign up on the team's alumni list. A quick form can be found at www.norwichjrcmerchants.com. Each era of Merchants hockey will be honoured throughout the 50th season.