Fans of the Port Colborne Pirates got their money’s worth Friday night. The crowd, treated to free admission to the playoff game, watched their hometown Pirates lose 5-3 to the Stoney Creek Warriors.
The Stoney Creek Warriors certainly have an uphill climb during these playoffs. While their first opponents in the quarter finals, the Port Colborne Pirates, had beaten the Warriors in five of the club’s six meetings during the regular season, most of those games were not won by much. Aside from one game where the Pirates handily defeated the Warriors 8-3, the games have been close in score. Even in that game Stoney Creek out shot Port Colborne. Despite the team’s regular season standings, the Warriors have proven that it is anybody’s series.
Stoney Creek got on the score sheet first as Kyle Dube put an early goal passed Pirates goaltender Morgan Hudson. The goal, scored just fifty five seconds into the opening period of the playoff series, was assisted by regular season points leader Myles Falasca. Zoran Popel tied the game for Port Colborne just over eight minutes in the first period, lighting the goal lamp at 8:02.
The Warriors pulled out to a two goal lead with two successive goals at the midway mark of the first period. First Brandon Vuic sent the puck across the goal line at 9:14, hot off the stick of Mike Casale to restore Stoney Creek’s lead. Then after Port Colborne’s Jordan Warren was given a penalty for checking from behind, Max Lindsay scored on the ensuing powerplay. Luke Nogard and Jake Milligan picked up assists on the play.
Jordan Warren was also given a game misconduct for the infraction.
The second period was even between both teams in terms of scoring and penalties. Stoney Creek and Port Colborne racked up eight minutes a piece in penalties, both with four minors, which lead to power play scoring. Luke Nogard’s cross checking penalty at 4:11 of the second period led to Pirates’ defenseman Bryan Komasara scoring a power play goal. Then Michael Sharp’s interference penalty just three minutes later led to Luke Scott of the Warriors adding his name to the score sheet with a power play goal of his own.
Midway through the third period Stoney Creek’s Brandon Elliott was given a penalty for cross checking, followed by a ten minute major and a game misconduct for abuse of officials. Dayne Phillips took full advantage for Port Colborne just a minute and four seconds later, beating Brock Novak and pulling the Pirates within a goal of tying the game.
An empty net goal at 19:24 of the game propelled the Warriors to a huge victory over Port Colborne.
The victory puts Stoney Creek up in the best-of-seven playoff series one game to none. The series will come to the Valley Park Arena in Stoney Creek Saturday night at 7:30pm.