An exciting season came to a disappointing early finish as the Blenheim Blades were eliminated from the PJHL Stobbs Division playoffs tonight.
A four-goal second period – including two goals seven seconds apart – led the Mooretown Flags to a 6-2 victory to win the best-of-seven quarterfinal in six games.
After a scoreless first period, Darby Lemieux put the Blades on the board two minutes into the second period – but it turned out to be Blenheim’s final lead of the season.
Ethan Kirby tied it for Mooretown just before the midway mark.
The game changed when Blake Howard scored a power-play goal at 11:59 and Masen Flett followed just seven seconds later.
Connor Wright scored his second of the season – and the last of his junior career – at 16:27 to get the Blades back to within a goal.
But the Flags’ Logan Gardner responded just 49 seconds later with his eighth goal of the series and a 4-2 lead.
Flett scored his second of the night midway through the third and Graham Armstrong’s empty-net goal in the final minute capped the Flags’ victory and closed the book on the Blades’ 2022-23 season.
The Flags won the first two games of the series before the Blades won Games 3 and 4 to reduce the series to a best-of-three, but Mooretown responded with their second set of back-to-back wins to head to the second round against the first-place Essex 73’s.
The Blades finished in fourth place, nine points ahead of the Flags, but for the second year in a row Blenheim was eliminated in the first round by Mooretown – with their seasons ending in Mooretown both times.
The game marked the end of the junior careers for captain Ben Barnard, Evan Wells and Wright who are in their overage year.
See the March 22 edition of The Blenheim News-Tribune for more coverage of the series.