June 22nd – The Saints and Gaels opened the 2018 Ontario Jr B playoffs in Clarington on Thursday night. To say that many of Newmarket’s players were getting their first taste of the postseason is an understatement, as only one Saint had played in a Jr B playoff game prior to faceoff.
That Saints turned to Cory Campbell in goal for Game 1, while the Gaels sent out Steven Walsh. Right away, Clarington showed their experience, taking it to Newmarket and scoring three times in the first two minutes. They found the back of the net two more times and held a 5-0 lead halfway through the frame. The Saints seemed to settle in a little after that with newcomer Matt Cromie scoring his first as a Saint on a nice fake inside. Luca Romano then followed that up with another tally less than a minute later. The Gaels would add two more before the period ended, while Riley Woodcox answered for Newmarket to head into the break with Clarington leading 7-3.
In the second, the Gaels opened the scoring two minutes in. The Saints got an opportunity to reply right away with a power play. Some great ball movement by the five guys on the floor finished with Angus Rawding sneaking one by Walsh to make it 8-4. But that’s where the momentum stopped for Newmarket. Good transition and pressure defence put the Saints on their heels and the Gaels capitalized. They went on a five goal run, punctuated by a back-breaking tally with only one second left on the clock. At the break, the Gaels led 13-4.
The third period wasn’t any prettier. The Gaels kept their foot on the gas and put up another seven on the board. The Saints we're only able to answer with a pair, as Woodcox and Luca Romano each netted their second goals of the game.
“That was a learning experience for our group.” said Saints Head Coach Dan Ransom Sr. “We we're a little wide-eyed early on and they capitalized, that's what veteran teams do. We will be better Sunday, we have to be.”
Final score: Gaels 20 - Saints 6.
Up next – Game 2 goes Sunday night in Newmarket. First faceoff is set for 7PM at Ray Twinney Recreation Complex.
As usual, all Redbirds players and coaches get in for free. But the Saints are offering a deal - all Redbirds families (adults) will enjoy a special offer of 2 for $12.00. Come out and cheer on the Saints as they host their first playoff game since 2015.