Pelham Receives Early Christmas Gift – Get First Victory – by C. Scott Holland

It has been a long time coming – 25 consecutive games to be exact – for the Pelham Panthers to claim their first victory of the 2015/16 season. One might say that Santa Claus gave them an early gift as the Thorold Blackhawks came out on the losing end of a close 2-1 contest.

For the struggling Panthers, who have been in four contests this seasons in which they lost in overtime, have also managed to avoid entering the record books. While 25 games without gaining a win is a long stretch it doesn’t near the 32 games posted by the 2010/11 Lambton Shores Predators. The Buffalo Jr. Sabres went on a winless streak of 27 games between Nov. 27, 2012 and Feb. 19, 2013, but the longest stretch without a point for the Panthers has only reached 8 games despite the fact that they haven’t had victory until Dec. 4th this season.

After a scoreless opening frame, Pelham pumped two goals past Thorold netminder Fraser Kirk in a span of one minute and 25 seconds. Caleb Mussat drilled Pelham’s first tally at 11:31 of the second and Adam Petric followed up at 12:56 to spot the Panthers a 2-0 lead. In the dying seconds of the middle stanza Thorold’s Anthony Merante halved the score to make it a 2-1 contest.

Midway through the third Pelham’s Bryce Hoggard was award a penalty shot but was foiled on the play and the score remained close until the final buzzer sounded.

Both teams had powerplay chances and were blanked. The Blackhawks went 0 for 7 on extra-man opportunities while Pelham was 0 for 4. Thorold took 13 penalty minutes while Pelham had 19. Both netminders were busy as Fraser Kirk of Thorold stopped 35 of 37 shots that came his way while Pelham winning goalie Stephen Harvey made 36 saves on 37 attempts.

Pelham can enjoy the sweet taste of success for the moment while Thorold can only hang their heads and wonder what went wrong. No doubt the next time these two squads meet, it will be a totally different contest.
(photo credit – Bernd Franke, The Welland Tribune)

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