Sports

Norwich Merchants have perfect 3-for-3 hockey weekend

By Colin Percy

The Norwich Merchants had been playing tight hockey games in recent weeks, but coming up on the losing end including a pair of 5-3 losses to Ayr and Tavistock to close out October. They looked to get things back on track with three games in three nights to open November.

On Friday night, Nov. 3, the Delhi Travellers came to town on a night where Norwich honoured another decade of alumni members, this time the 1988/89 – 1997/98 teams.

John Foreman opened the scoring for Norwich 8:19 into the first period. Blake Pow extended his point streak to six games when he buried a shot 3:54 later and Jeremy Bomberry made it 3-0 with 1:07 left in the opening 20 minutes. The second period started with two Merchant goals in the first 38 seconds courtesy of Riley Monutre and Simon Storochuk. Pow slipped home his second of the game before Delhi got on the board mid-way through the middle frame. Mason Cooper and Bomberry added a pair of goals for Norwich to lead 8-1 after 40 minutes.

Norwich wasn't done there as the onslaught continued in the third period. Seth Lamoure scored his second of the season 1:13 into the final period. Cooper scored his second of the game to put Norwich into double digits in the goal column with 10:08 remaining. Harlen VanWynsberghe made it 11-1 and Matt Larochelle tallied a powerplay goal in the final minute as the Merchants crushed Delhi 12-1. VanWynsberghe (3), Pow (2), Troy Lamoure, Larochelle (3), Cooper, Bomberry, Zach Jankovic, Storoschuk (2), Damon Lemmon, Foreman, Ryan Dayman and Matt Caskanette (2) had the assists for Norwich while Tyler Gubesch stopped 22 of 23 shots to earn the victory.

On Saturday, Nov. 4, the Merchants paid the first visit to Wellesley on the season and it did not start well for Norwich. The Apple Jacks roared out to a 3-0 lead in the first 15:35 of the game. Pow finally got Norwich on the board with 26 seconds left. Monture made it 3-2 early in the second period and Caskanette completed the comeback mid-way through the period. Wellesley restored the lead late in the second, but Norwich equalized once more 7:08 into the third courtesy of Brandon Velda's fifth of the season. Velda scored his sixth of the season 1:29 later to give Norwich their first lead of the game. Wellesley continued to press in the final 10 minutes and pulled the goalie late, but could not find a game-tying goal. Jankovic and Foreman added empty-net goals as Norwich won 7-4. Bomberry (2), Caskanette, VanWynsberghe (3), Larochelle (2) and Troy Lamoure registered assists while Gubesch made 34 saves to earn his fifth win of the season.

The Merchants looked to make it a perfect weekend when they hosted the New Hamburg Firebirds on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 5. For the second straight night, Norwich had to play comeback as the Firebirds opened the scoring 2:34 into the game. Storoschuk whistled home a shot with six seconds left in the frame to knot the game at aces after the first period. The teams again traded lone goals in the second period with Monture scoring 4:12 into the second with New Hamburg equalizing late. Cooper roofed a shot 7:07 into the third period to give Norwich a 3-2 lead. VanWynsberghe wired home a second unasnwered goal with 5:55 left as the Merchants completed a perfect six-point weekend with a 4-2 win. The victory vaulted the Merchants into fifth place in the Doherty Division standings. VanWynsberghe (2), Bomberry (2) and Monture notched assists for Norwich while Brandon McIntosh made 30 saves to earn the victory.

Norwich will now hit the road for a pair of games this weekend. On Friday they visit Woodstock for Round 3 of the Battle of 59 against the Navy Vets. Puck drop is set for 7:45 p.m. On Saturday they visit the Paris Mounties at 7:30 p.m. They will close out a three game road trip in Ayr on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m.

OVERTIME

Tickets still remain for the Merchants Fall Fish Fry on Saturday, Nov. 18. The event features an all-you-can-eat perch and pickerel dinner with all the fixings along with a dance with DJ Brian Grosvold. There will also be a live and silent auction at the event that features a number of incredible items up for grabs. Tickets are $30/person and are available from all Merchant executive members.