Merchants to host All-Star/Prospects game
A showcase event will be held in Norwich as part of the 50th anniversary of Merchants hockey.
The Provincial Junior Hockey League's Doherty Division All-Star and Prospects Game goes Jan. 6 at Nor-Del arena – one of the many special gatherings that have taken place throughout the franchise's golden anniversary celebrations.
“This year is something that's really important to Norwich,” said Port Dover native and Merchants leading scorer Blake Pow. “I'm just glad I could represent them.”
Joining Pow in the all-star portion of the event is rookie forward and Simcoe native Simon Storoschuk as well as Riley Monture and Troy Lamoure. That game takes place at 4:30 p.m. while the prospects (players 16-17 years-of-age) hit the ice at 7:30 p.m. Admission for both games is $10. Making an appearance will be arguably the most famous hockey dad of all time, Walter Gretzky.
Now in his second season with the Merchants, Pow is well-aware of what the event means to the franchise and the community of Norwich in general.
“It's huge,” he began. “The amount of work that goes into Norwich and the people behind everything that happens there, the way they treat all the players and all the fans, I think it's the best organization that Junior C could have. It's just a great town to play in.”
Pow has racked up a whopping 52 points (27 goals, 25 assists) in just 30 games played thus far. Second on the team list is 28 points (13 goals, 15 assists) from Storoschuk, who said he was both 'honoured and flattered' by the all-star selection.
“It will be very nice to represent the community of Norwich at Norwich in the all-star game,” he added.
“The guys are great, the coaching is great, the executive is great and the community is great. It's a community-oriented team and the community of Norwich is amazing, I'm very happy to be there.”
Having won two of three games going into the Christmas break, Norwich sits sixth in the division with a mark of 13 wins, 16 losses, 2 ties/overtime losses. With nine games to play, they have an outside shot to finish fourth, something the team is focused on coming down the stretch.
“We've got a little easier schedule than a couple other teams so we're hoping we can push through those games, get wins and finish fourth,” Storoschuk added.
To do so, Norwich will need to continue to push even when things aren't going their way, Pow added.
“We need to keep playing hard and we can't give up, that's given us trouble,” he said. “We get down and we give up on ourselves so we need to keep going, play as a team and believe in everybody's ability and we should be alright.”
Merchants taking part in the prospects game include Brandon McIntosh, Seth Lamoure, Sam Davies, Alex Sutherland and Brandon Odorjan.
Travellers searching for first victory
Norfolk's Doherty Division squad, the Delhi Travellers are still searching for their first win of the 2017-18 campaign. Affiliated player Nathan DeDecker tied Delhi's game vs. Woodstock Dec. 23 before the Navy Vets scored four unanswered in a 5-1 win. Woodstock also downed Delhi the night before by a score of 12-3. Now holding 28 losses to begin the year, Delhi visits Ayr (23-4-2) Dec. 28 before hosting Tavistock (23-3-3) Dec. 30 at 8 p.m.
Representing Delhi as Doherty Division all-stars are Brady Reid, Brody Hunt, Duncan Clarke and Jared Misener. Travellers prospects are Carter Dejong, Ethan Hurst, and Gage DeBorghraeve.
Port Dover Sailors
With a pair of victories over Niagara and Hagersville going into the Christmas break, the Port Dover Sailors will return to action Dec. 29 sitting fourth place in the Bloomfield Division. Not only is Port Dover looking like a strong bet to secure home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, they're just one point back of third place Dundas with two games in hand. Port Dover (16-13-1) will have a chance to leapfrog the Blues in Dundas (16-14-2) Friday in their only contest of the weekend. The Sailors return home for a pair of games Jan. 6 vs. Niagara at 7:20 p.m. and Jan. 7 against Dundas at 2 p.m.
Simcoe will look to break a lengthy losing streak when they return to action Dec. 30 in Hagersville. The Shamrocks were downed by Grimsby 4-1 on Dec. 17 in their final action before the holidays. After visiting Hagersville, Simcoe heads to Dundas Jan. 4 and returns to Talbot Gardens Jan. 7 at 7:30 p.m. vs. Dunnville. Simcoe's losing streak has hit 20 games dating back to Oct. 15. They're sitting last place in the division with a mark of 2-25-4.
Hagersville closed the gap between themselves and fifth place Dunnville prior to the Christmas break. The Hawks earned back-to-back wins (2-1 over Niagara Dec. 21 and 5-3 vs. Dunnville Dec. 23) to get to 22 points, one behind the Mudcats with one game in hand. Ralph Taggart notched a hat trick Dec. 23 for the Hawks (10-17-2), who will visit Grimsby (26-3-1) Dec. 29 before hosting Simcoe (2-25-4) at 'the nest' Dec. 30 at 7:30 p.m.