Pirates close out Panthers, Jets to run winning streak to five

Picton forward Zack Brooks had two goals in Thursday night's win over Port Hope and has six points in his last six games. (Gazette Staff)

After knocking off the Provincial Junior Hockey League’s last remaining undefeated team last week, the  Picton Pirates made it a November to Remember with a pair of wins this weekend.

The Pirates managed to tame the Port Hope Panthers 4-3 on Thursday night at home before travelling to Amherstview and grounding the Jets 3-0 on Sunday night.

The victories extended Picton’s winning streak to five games and moved their overall recored to 11-6-0, good enough for third place in the Tod Division. The Pirates trail the Jets for second spot by five points but hold five games in hand on Amherstview.

After losing their first two games to open the month, the Pirates posted a 5-2-0 record in November and Pirates coach Kyle Hawkins Schulz said the club’s commitment to playing a full 60 minute game has been a key ingredient in it’s most recent success.

“We have been competitive in our games this year,” the coach said. “A consistent three period effort has earned us some positive results.”

(From left) Picton’s Ian Harrison, Landon McLellan and Ross Maycock celebrate (Centre) Zack Brook’s second period goal Thursday night. (Gazette Staff)

And while some of the club’s players have landed on the score sheet more often in the previous five games than in the first portion of the season, Hawkins Schulz said it has been a full team effort that has lead Picton to securing ten straight points.

“Collectively we are working to get better everyday. The whole group has taken an elevated step in their game,” he said. “When we can do that we get better as a team and get better individually. The leadership group has been a determined driver keeping us on course.”

On Thursday, the Pirates managed to erase a pair of one goal deficits through two periods of play as timely scoring, solid netminding and attention to detail in the defensive end allowed them to stake past the visiting Panthers.

Not lost to anyone attending this thrilling contest was the effort by Sam Dingle in the Port Hope net. Picton tested the Brighton native early and often but the goaltender sprawled out a number of times to make ten bell saves on the Pirates shooters.

After thwarting Picton a number of times to start the game, Dingle was rewarded with a first period lead as Drew Clapperton found the range against starter Brady Spry at the 7:02 mark of the first.

Down a goal, Picton would go to work on the power part and Jack Dow’s 13th of the year at 4:19 of the second knotted the score at 1-1.

But just minutes later Connor McGregor’s shorthanded effort reinstalled the Port Hope Lead.

That winning margin lasted less than a minute as Picton’s Zack Brooks unleashed a top shelf bullet from the high slot to make it a 2-2 game.

Captain Landon McLellan who had a hand in both Picton power play goals in the frame finally got to play trigger man in the dying moments of second.

Liam Philip and Ian Harrison were able to create an odd man rush with McLellan trailing the play. At the 18:41 mark, McLellan ripped a shot over the glove of Dingle to give the hosts their first lead of the game.

In the third, Picton tacked on to that lead as Gerrit Kempers gained the offensive zone and left a drop pass for Brooks who found the short side on Dingle from the top of the circle at 4:09 to make it 4-2 Picton.

The Panthers would get back to within a goal just under two minutes later when Nathan Ford scored a power play tally but that was all from either team.

Dingle did well to keep his team a shot away however Spry matched his Port Hope counter part save for save down the stretch.

On Sunday, Picton was out shot by the Jets but a combined 38 save performance by Ethan Beattie and Spry kept the Jets off the score sheet for the first time this season.

Beattie, who had been fighting illness all week and was unable to dress on Thursday, started for Picton and made eight saves but fell ill at the end of the first and was relieved by Spry.

“We have always cherished the goaltending position and have the belief that our team is only as good as our goalies,” the coach added. “We are very fortunate to have an unbelievable partnership in Brady Spry and Ethan Beattie who provide us with confidence every night. It has been inspiring to watch them compete, support each other and make huge contributions. “

Rheydan McCoy would supply the only goal Picton would need at the 5:51 mark of the first period on the power play thanks to assists from Philip and Mclellan.

In the second, Picton extended their lead 64 seconds in as Ross Maycock found Dow for the overager’s 14th of the campaign.

In the third, Picton once again got an early start and it was McLellan converting a Harrison pass at the 3:22 mark.

Philip added an assist on the play.

Picton hosts Napanee on Thursday and then travels to Port Hope for the second time this season.

The Pirate are hosting a Prince Edward County Minor Hockey Association Appreciation night on Dec. 8 when they host the Frankford Huskies.

Two time Stanley Cup champion and Roblin Lake’s own Andrew Shaw will be in attendance. Any minor hockey player wearing their jersey will be granted free admittance.

-Staff