Norwich Merchants dominate Burford Bulldogs
Wintry January weather provided Norwich with a quiet weekend in Doherty Division action as Mother Nature forced the postponement of Friday's home game against the New Hamburg Firebirds. As a result, Norwich's lone game was a visit to Burford to tangle with the Bulldogs or in the case of Saturday's game - puppy dogs.
The Merchants dominated from start to finish. Dan Gallagher scored 33 seconds into the game, extending his point streak to three games. Simon Storoschuk continued his hot play from December that saw him win Doherty Division Rookie of the Month when he whistled home his 15th goal of the season 8:08 after Gallagher's goal.
Oliver Wieringa, playing his first game of the season for Norwich since being acquired from the St. Mary's Lincolns, scored a powerplay goal 3:25 into the second period. Dan Gallagher fired in his second of the game with 9:34 left in the middle frame.
Burford then got into penalty trouble, including a five-minute charging major, and the Merchants made the Bulldogs pay, burying four powerplay goals to close out the second period - including two from Harlen Vanwynsberghe and one each from Troy Lamoure and Doherty Division Player of the Month for December Blake Pow who is now riding a 13-game point streak. VanWynsberghe completed his hat trick 1:13 into the third period to give Norwich a nine goal lead. Brandon Velda put Norwich into double digits with his ninth of the season. Gallagher completed his hat trick 20 seconds later to close out an 11-0 rout of Burford that saw Norwich go an impressive 8 for 12 on the powerplay. VanWynsberghe and Gallagher each had four assists in the contest for a season high seven points in a game for Norwich. Lamoure and Pow each added three helpers and Storoschuk added two. Lone assists went to Seth Lamoure, Sam Davies, Riley Monture and Brett Parsons who played in his first game since being injured in the team's season opener back on Sept. 16. Brandon McIntosh made 31 saves to earn his second shutout of the season.
Norwich now prepares for a busy stretch with three games in four nights. On Thursday, they visit the first place Ayr Centennials at 7:30 p.m. They return home on Friday night to tangle with the Wellesley Apple Jacks at 8 p.m. They'll close out the weekend on Sunday afternoon when they host the New Hamburg Firebirds at 2 p.m. for the make-up game from this past Friday's postponement. This game will also feature the final alumni night that was also scheduled for this past Friday. Members from the 2008/09 to the 2017/18 teams will be honoured, but alumni from any year who could not participate in previous alumni nights are encouraged to attend as well. 50th season committee members will also be on hand for any alumni wishing to participate in the team's Alumni Tournament coming up on Saturday, Feb. 17. $40 will allow alumni members to play in the one of the games and also provide them with a meal and beverage along with a replica Merchants sweater.
Kiley Joe Masson will be returning to the Norwich Community Centre on St. Patrick's Day Saturday, March 17 for a concert and dance. The event takes place from 2-5 p.m. Masson specializes in classic country and 50s/60s music. There will be lunch available and a cash bar. Tickets are only $15/person with proceeds going towards junior hockey. Tickets are available from all Merchant executive members or by calling or texting 519-532-6704.