19 Feb OHA UK Beat League Leaders
Last Saturday saw OHA UK host Guildford U18’s in a 1st vs 2nd clash at the top of the U18 South division One. With Guildford taking the points in the last meeting OHA needed a win to keep up pressure on the division leaders.
The first period started at a really high tempo with both teams coming out hard looking to gain the early advantage. Max Licht in the Okanagan net was called into action first, making and early stop on a heavy shot from the blueline setting the tone for a fine performance in the pipes. At the other end of the ice Guildford’s netminder Milan Rohmer was also in standout form and produced the save of the game in the opening twenty minutes, gloving a puck out the air when Oli Endicott though he had beat him cutting back across the net after a pretty passing play from Cain Russell and Josh Shaw. It was the visitors who got onto the scoreboard first, however. Liam Steele jumping on a turnover pass and cutting in from wide to round Licht and give Guildford a 1-0 lead going into the break.
The second period picked up where the first period ended. High tempo physical hockey and a great display of junior hockey in a tight affair. Both teams had chances on the-play, but again with both netminders looking sharp and both teams playing hard defense, it was always looking to be a tight low scoring game. Oli Endicott again arguably having the best chance again, when Josh Shaw found him open in the slot, only for Rohmer in net to deny him once again.
The third period saw OHA come out knowing that a loss would be a big dent in their hopes of chasing down the leaders, and with Guildford starting the stronger, Max Licht in goal produced a number of key saves to keep the team in the game. And finally OHA got their reward as they kept up the pressure on the Guildford goal. After hard forecheck pressure from Sam Bennett and Leo Pennisi, Bow Neely got a shot on from an angle, and the rebound fell for Aaron Moody to pounce on and tie the game with 7 minutes remaining. The goal energized the home bench as they went looking to push on and steal the winner. Another great shift from Aaron Moody, Sam Bennett and Leo Pennisi with some great forecheck pressure forced the Guildford D to fire a puck straight out and take a delay of game penalty in the last two minutes. And with the extra play OHA took advantage. A good quick up play from Bow Neely found Cain Russell posted up, who slipped the puck to Oli Endicott entering the Guildford zone. This time Endicott made sure with a lovely backhand finish over the goalies shoulder to give Okanagan the lead with just 99 seconds left on the clock. The team battled had to see out the game and take a vital two points and now the teams sit tied for 1st place. The result keeps up a fine stretch of form for OHA UK as they break from the league for their Canada trip.
Okanagan Head Coach Ryan Aldridge said “Today was a big performance from the group. They really had to dig in and battle right to the end, and that final 20-minute push was huge, and in the end they got the result they deserved. Credit to both teams, that was a great end to end game of hockey. And both netminders were excellent. It’s turning into a really exciting second half of the season, and we are really pleased with how this group is developing and coming together.”
OHA man of the match was Netminder Max Licht