After starting their Provincial Junior Hockey League Stobbs Division 42-game season with a pair of victories, the Blenheim Blades ran into two perennial powerhouse teams on the weekend and came out on the short end in both games.
Friday night the defending Stobbs Division and Ontario champion Lakeshore Canadiens hosted the Blades and won a 5-2 game, while Sunday evening the Essex ’73s paid a visit to the Blenheim Memorial Arena, and beat the Blades 4-2 before 457 fans.
The Blades now have two wins and two losses in four league games, and will head to Wallaceburg Wednesday night for a 7:30 game against the Wallaceburg Thunderhawks, who lost 8-0 to the Amherstburg Admirals Sunday.
The Blades and Thunderhawks have met once this season, with Blenheim winning 5-2 in Wallaceburg Sept. 14 to open the season.
Essex got three first period goals, two by Jacob Archer, and one off the stick of Gabe Barrette.
There was no scoring in the middle 20 minutes, with the Blades scoring two late third-period tallies to make the game close.
Tate Bowden, on a powerplay, netted his third of the season at 16:30, with assists going to Connor Roth and Ian Campbell, with team captain Ben Barnard following that up at 17:52 with his first goal of the campaign, assisted by Connor Wright and Trent Amaro.
Essex outshot the Blade 47 to 28, including 21-7 in the first period.
Friday night in Belle River the Canadiens jumped into a 2-0 lead thanks to a first period tally by Braydin Metcalfe, and a second frame score by Cam Skinner.
However, the Blades tied things in the second period with a pair of markers 49 seconds apart when Daniel Norton netted his first Junior hockey goal at 10:47, with assists going to Austin Drew and Tate Bowden, and then Noah Prudhomme got his first as a Blade at 11:36.
Before the period ended Lakeshore reclaimed the lead thanks to a Marco Sladoje scored at 16:58.
The only scoring in the final 20 minutes came thanks to a pair of Lakeshore goals by Kyle Bleau.
Rookie Massimo Agostini, who played in England last year, got his first start between the pipes for Blenheim, and stopped 24 of 29 Lakeshore shots, while his teammates fired 28 shots on Lakeshore netminder Romano Liburdi.
BLADES BITS: Blenheim outshot the Canadiens 22-18 over the final 40 minutes…Not dressed for the Blades Friday were three veterans – Evan Wells, Ayden McKinlay and Zach Van Boxtel…The Blades went 0 for 5 on the powerplay, while Lakeshore was 1 for 4…Veteran Jake Vancoillie was in the Blades nets against Lakeshore and didn’t have much of a chance on the first three Canadiens’ goals…After that he allowed just one goal on 26 shots over 40 minutes…Not dressed for the Blades Sunday were Wells, Ryan Sanders and Ben Brooks…Sunday’s ice time sponsor was CB Deliveries of Blenheim.