Sports

Norwich Merchants split pair of home games

By Colin Percy

The Norwich Merchants played a pair of games on home ice this weekend including Friday night when they hosted the Wellesley Apple Jacks on Champions Night, where the organization honoured the 1969/70 and 1985/86 Ontario Champion teams as part of their 50th season celebrations.

Things did not start well for Norwich as the Apple Jacks scored three times in the first period that saw a large number of shots on both sides with Wellesley out-shooting Norwich 17-16. Norwich struggled to get anything going in the second period either as the Jacks scored twice more in the second period. The assault continued in the third with Wellesley burying three more goals including once on the power play as the Merchants dropped their third straight game, this time 8-0. Tyler Gubesch made 24 saves in the loss while Brandon McIntosh stopped 10 of 11 shots faced in relief.

Saturday night would be a different story for Norwich when they hosted the winless Delhi Travellers. Blake Pow ensured the team wouldn't be shutout for a second straight night when he poked home his 19th goal of the season 4:11 into the game. Riley Monture wired a shot in from the hash marks 3:23 later before Delhi got on the scoreboard mid-way through the first. Pow buried his second of the game early in the first period and completed the hat trick at the 7:28 mark. Harlen VanWynsberghe notched his fourth goal of the season as Norwich led 5-1 after 40 minutes. Things calmed down in the third period with no goals tallied as the Merchants held on for the win while sending Delhi to a 22nd consecutive loss to start the season. Simon Storoschuk, Seth Lamoure, Ryan Dayman (2), VanWynsberghe, Matt Larochelle and Peter Cappucci notched assists for Norwich while Gubesch made 20 saves to earn his seventh win of the season.

Norwich now begin a busy stretch with three games in four nights. On Thursday they visit the Ayr Centennials at 7:30 p.m. before returning home on Friday night when they host the Woodstock Navy Vets at 8 p.m. That night will also feature the team's annual teddy bear/winter clothing toss where fans are encouraged to bring stuffed animals and articles of winter clothing to be tossed on the ice after the Merchants first goal. These items will then be donated to local charities to help those less fortunate this holiday season. The team wraps up the weekend on Sunday afternoon when they look for redemption against Wellesley as they visit the Jacks at 2 p.m.

The team will also be busy on Saturday as they participate in the Norwich Santa Claus parade beginning at 11 a.m. All your favourite Merchant players will be on hand to spread some holiday cheer.

OVERTIME

The Norwich Merchants will be hosting the PJHL Doherty Division All-Star & Prospects games on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. The All-Star game starts at 4:30 p.m. with the prospects going at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are only $10/person. The Merchants are also accepting sponsorships for the event for $250. Anyone interested is asked to see a Merchant executive for a package or call 519-532-6704 for further information.