17 Mar OHA Take Top Spot
Last Saturday saw OHA UK travel to first place Guildford U18’s in a 1st vs 2nd clash at the top of the U18 South division One. With Guildford equal on points but having the head to head advantage it was looking to be an exciting match up for both teams.
The first period started at a really high tempo with both teams coming out hard looking to gain the early advantage. Both Netminders getting called into early saves in the opening shifts as play swapped from end to end with exciting up tempo hockey. And it was the hosts who took the lead with the game opening goal at 4.23 In the first period. After build up work from Liam Steele Austin Osborn got the finish to beat Mil Moons in OHA net. And just 64 seconds later Guildford doubled their lead as they started to build pressure and look the better of the team in the first few minutes. Okanagan had the perfect response however, as Leo Pennisi brought the game back to 2-1 after hard work from Jack Goodchild creating a break, and Pennisi following up after the initial effort was saved. The game continued end to end with no further score to finish the first period 2-1 to the hosts.
The second period saw OHA come out looking more settled after the frantic opening twenty. The visitors were looking stronger in their own end and starting to create more offence and looking dangerous on a number of breaks. It was Guildford who struck first again, however. While on the man advantage with Oli Endicott in the box, Evan Nauth broke through and fired a big shot top corner to make the game 3-1. Again, OHA had an important quick response. Jack Goodchild applying pressure on the Guildford Defense and forcing a turnover, before applying a finish to make it a one goal game again. This goal was the first of a straight hat-trick for Goodchild that would take just under 7 minutes to complete and take the game to 4-3 to Okanagan as the teams left for the second period break and stun their hosts.
The third period was by far OHA’s best of the game. Off the back of their strong finish to the second period, OHA were quick onto the score sheet as Aaron Moody scored the first of what was to be a straight 4 goal streak for himself in a strong third period performance and would lead the team to an eventual 8-3 victory. The first at 41.44 break wide by himself and finding a great finish over the netminders shoulder, before adding a further marker at 49.04. OHA were awarded a five-minute power-play at 50.30 and Moody picked up his 3rd and 4th while OHA were on the man advantage. The game ended and the result means OHA moved up to top spot outright for the first time this season after a great team display.
Okanagan Head Coach Ryan Aldridge said “Today was a big performance from the group. They really had to dig in and battle to earn this result and it certainly could have ended differently, the way Guildford turned up to play and came at us in the first half of the game. But credit to this group, they have really grown and developed over the year and certainly recently we have really seen some great hockey from them. They stuck at it as a group and got the result they wanted and deserved. We are proud of them and how they have gone about their hockey this second half of the season. And it feels good for them to hit first spot in the table at this time of the year”
OHA man of the match was Aaron Moody