MIDDLETON – Ray Parson’s goal midway through the third period proved to be the winner and finally put Middleton Regional High School Monarchs boys in the win column, but it was a close 8-7 game that went right down to the final horn Saturday night in Middleton.
It probably shouldn’t have been that close as Clare Loups scored five powerplay goals in a fast and sometime furious game filled with penalties and a melee at the end after the clock ran out.
But it was good hockey that saw Middleton’s Nick Hazelwood score a natural hat trick in the second period and notch a pair of assists for a game-leading five points. Monarch’s manager Albert Johnson credited Hazelwood for his penalty-killing efforts in a contest that saw Middleton players rack up 32 minutes in the box.
Middleton scored three powerplay goals with Clare notching 24 penalty minutes.
For Clare, Kyle Robicheau scored three to lead his team but at the end of the game was named instigator of the melee, participating in two fights for which he received two fighting majors, and an automatic game misconduct for those two fights. Clare received two other fighting majors in the brawl, while Middleton players had three.
Middleton started Jason ‘J-Bird’ Ward in nets but switched him out for Caleb Fraser midway through the game.
Albert Johnson said the Monarchs controlled the game about 60 per cent of the time but said a few lapses into ‘lackadaisical’ play gave Clare opportunities that they capitalized on to take a four-goal spread at one point down to a single-goal margin at the end.
Play by Play
Middleton got on the scoreboard first as Cory Johnson shot from the point to Ned Brooks who slammed it in. Matt Fudge-Howard help on that marker late in the first frame with 6:29 left.
Jacob Chartier, from Jean-Pascal Wilson, evened it up about three minutes later and the period ended 1-1.
Fudge-Howard, with help from Thomas Connell, gave Middleton the lead 1:40 into the second period. Oakley Rhoddy, from Brooks, two minutes later gave the Monarchs the insurance goal, and Hazelwood got his first of three unassisted at 5:09 to put Middleton up 4-1. Thirty seconds later Taylor Veinot made it 5-1 with help from C. J. Martin and Hazelwood.
Halfway through the period Robicheau, from Alex Dugas, got Clare’s second marker, but 30 seconds later Hazelwood from Veinot made it 6-2. Jay Deveau from Chartier with 8:57 left, and Luc Deveau from Jean-Luc Comeau and Wilson four minutes later made it a 6-4 game.
Hazelwood completed his hat trick unassisted with 2:56 left but just 18 seconds later Nicholas LeBlanc from Alex Dugas capped the period at 7-5 Middleton.
In the final frame, Parsons was set up by Rhoddy and Hazelwood 8:51 into the period for what would prove to be the winning goal for Middleton.
As spectator sat on the edge of theirs seats for the last six minutes, Robicheau scored his second of the game with help from Jean-Luc Comeau, and notched his third 40 seconds later to bring Clare to within one at 8-7 Middleton.
The last five minutes of the game saw both teams pouring on the pressure. A slashing penalty with 12 seconds left in the game gave Clare a brief advantage but not enough to get organized and the game ended 8-7 for Middleton.
The Middleton Monarchs stand at 1-4 in league play and are in Yarmouth today, Nov. 12, to take on the Yarmouth Vikings who are 1-5 in play so far.
While the two teams have not met yet this year, statistically speaking it should be a close contest, but the MRHS team goes into today’s game short four or five players, said Johnson.
After that, MRHS meets powerhouse Central Kings on Nov. 18 in another away game. The CK Gators trounced the Monatchs 15-0 the last time the teams met. Back home on Nov. 25, Middleton plays host to Northeast Kings, a team the Monarchs will meet for the first time this season.