By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Jet veteran Dalen Paul’s hat trick was a major contribution to Sunday night’s home opener victory for the Junior B club, a game which saw the Jets defeat the Leduc Schwab Riggers 5-2.
Rookie Brady McCorriston opened scoring for the Jets two-and-a-half minutes after the opening faceoff. Although the Riggers answered back with one on the power play with just a couple minutes left in the first period, Paul popped in his first to give the Jets a 2-1 lead heading into the middle frame.
The second period saw Leduc tie the game three minutes in, but they failed to capitalize on any of their remaining chances during the period. Not so for the Jets. Paul picked up the next two for the club, both within the final five minutes of the period. With a 4-2 lead and 1:19 left in the period, Nick Pratt brought the game to 5-2 in Morinville’s favour.
Neither side was able to ripple the mesh during the remaining 20 minutes.
Head Coach Scott Rodda said he was pleased with Sunday’ night’s opener, a game he hopes is but a taste of things to come. “It’s a good start,” he said, adding rookie net minder Brad Miller had one misstep when what looked like a solid glove save fell from the glove into the back of the net, something both the coach and the goalie laughed about between periods. “The rookies played well. All the lines were going.”
Rodda, who likes a strongly-disciplined team, said there were a few too many penalties for his liking, but felt it was an all-around solid effort.
Part of that solid effort was the pounding the Jets gave Leduc’s net. In total, Morinville took 51 chances during the game, nearly double the Riggers’ 27 shots on Miller. “We said 20 a period,” Rodda said of his expectations going into Sunday night’s home opener. “We said throw everything you can at the net and see what happens. All in all, 51 shots – that’s a great effort.”
Rodda said he was impressed with the chemistry between Dalen Paul, Keegan Arcand and their entire line. “They were cycling the puck down low, feeding off each other, lots of give and goes, lots of support on the puck, and banging the crash when they needed to,” the coach said. “They had a great game.”
But while the support on the ice was something for the Jets to be pleased with, Rodda was equally impressed with the support off the ice. Sunday night’s home opener was played to a packed arena. Morinville Jets President Brent Melville’s decision to move the games from Sunday afternoon to early evening was in part to draw more fans to the rink. It is a formula that seems to have worked. It is one Rodda is hoping continues.
“That’s awesome [for the] first game of the season,” the coach said of Morinville’s support Sunday night. “I told the kids that. Look up over there. Play hard and they’ll come back. I’d love to see that all year.”
The Jets take to the road for their first away game this Friday night when they will take on the St. Albert Merchants. The Merchants also played Sunday night and emerged with a 7-6 victory over the Edmonton Mustangs. The Jets next home game is Sept. 25 at 6:45 p.m. when the club takes on the Spruce Grove Regals.
Eskimo Dennis Predicts
Dennis predicted a 6-0 victory for the Jets Sunday night. Although incorrect on the shutout aspect of the contest, our resident Jets fan was only off by one goal for the Jets’ tally. Dennis calls a 4-0 victory for the Jets over the Merchants Sept. 23 and a 3-0 victory over Spruce Grove Sept. 25.
Other Sunday night games
4-2 for Beaumont Chiefs over Strathcona Bruins
11 – 1 Beverly Warriors over Stony Plain Flyers
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