By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Dressed in their road jerseys, the Morinville Jets took to home ice Friday night to face the CJHL West Division’s top-ranked Beverly Warriors. Despite 40 minutes of discipline and determination that brought the Jets to a 4-3 lead over the Warriors; a series of defensive breakdowns in the final frame reversed the Jets’ fortunes, giving the Warriors a 7-5 victory and the Jets their second defeat of the week.
After a 4-0 road defeat at the hands of the Sherwood Park Knights Dec. 14, the Jets came out of the gate strong Friday night, keeping penalties to a minimum and working hard for the puck and the play. It was a discipline and work ethic that earned the Jets their first goal, scored on the powerplay with 9:44 left in the period to bring the contest to a 1-1 tie heading into the middle frame.
The Jets continued their work ethic during the second period, pulling ahead by one within the first minute of the frame. Although the Warriors answered back with two goals to pull ahead by one, the Jets poured it on in the final 10 minutes to score another three goals. Josh Lafleche’s contribution, pocket with just four seconds left on the clock, brought the game to a 4-3 lead in the Jets’ favour.
But the Jets spent a good portion of the final period without the control they had during the initial 40 minutes of the game. Defensive breakdowns left the Jets chasing the puck in the Warriors zone and scrambling to regain control in their own.
By contrast, a penalty free period left the Warriors at full strength for 20 minutes during which they pocketed another three, including a penalty shot earned during a hooking call for the Jets.
Trailing 7-4 with two minutes left in the contest, Justin Proulx’s goal with 34 seconds left in the game closed the margin to 7-5, but was the final the club would score.
The defeat brings the Jets’ season record to 12-11-4 and leaves the club hovering close to .500 hockey once again.
The Jets took on the 14-8-2 Spruce Grove Regals Sunday night. Results were not available by Morinvillenews.com deadline. The contest was the Jets’ final game of 2010. The club returns to home ice Jan. 4 for a rematch against the Regals.