After a blowout win by Polars, Selects come back to establish 3-1 series lead
© Ian Murdoch
The Polars won 11-3 in a lopsided Game 3 at Straits Arena on February 3 but the Selects countered with a 9-7 win the following night.
The St Anthony Polars and the Straits Selects battled out two games on February 3 and 4 on each other's home ice, trading shots and wins to take one game apiece in the Bud Light Northern Peninsula Super Series.
The Polars were primed for the opening puck drop in game three of the series on Friday night with a flurry of goals to begin the game - two netted within the first two minutes of the game.
Riley Ricks, who continued his torrid scoring streak, opened up the scoring for the Polars one minute and two seconds into the game, followed by an unassisted goal from Danny Simms 45 seconds later. Ryan Pittman picked up the helper on the goal by Ricks.
Two more goals were scored within the first ten minutes by Brandon Genge and Ricks, on his second of the night, to put the Polars up 4-0 at Straits Arena.
Selects Cody Gibbons answered for the first tally from the Selects half way through the first on a goal assisted by captain Jeremy Caines but the Polars went up 5-1 heading into the first intermission on a late period goal by John Brown.
The Selects were in familiar territory, trailing the Polars going into the second period, however the Polars continued their surge without letting up and tallied four goals to go up 9-1 in what would result in an 11-3 drumming.
The Polars' top line had a huge game in the win as Ricks potted his third and fourth goals of the night on assists from Ryan Pittman and Brandon Genge. Brandon Genge also scored his second of the night on a feed from Steve Ward and John Brown buried two more goals for a hat trick with an assist coming from Captain Jason Rowbottom.
Selects' Rob Coles and the Polars' John Payne dropped their mits for a bout in the second period in another penalty-filled affair that saw 11 penalties for the Polars and nine for the Selects.
Game four of the super series continued in action the next night, up the 430 in St Anthony Olympia.
In a similar beginning to Friday night's tilt, Riley Ricks started off the game with a goal in the first minute on an assist from Danny Simms to put the Polars up 1-0 early on.
But unlike game three in which the Polars ran away with the early lead, the Selects came right back and scored three goals in the opening period to take a 3-1 lead going into the first intermission.
The Selects' Shannon Moores had a goal and an assist in the first period to go along with goals by Robbie Coles and Tony Lavallee. Wilga Gibbons and Kris Genge helped out with assists.
The Polars climbed back into the game in the second, scoring four goals in total, two of them coming from Ricks and the other two from Brent Hancock and Danny Simms.
The Selects came out of the period with two goals of their own, both from Kris Genge, to knot the game up at five goals apiece going into the third.
Drawing assists in the second period for the Polars were Ryan Pittman, Jason Rowbottom, John Brown, Riley Ricks, and Adam Pynn and for the Selects Robbie Coles and Wilga Gibbons.
The third period in a crucial game four, that would either tie the series up at two or put the Selects into a commanding 3-1 series lead, turned into a scrappy affair with both teams marching steadily to the penalty box.
The Polars opened up the scoring in the final frame to go up 6-5 on a quick goal by Brandon Genge, assisted by Ricks and Adam Pynn.
However, the Selects came back with three goals, two coming again from Kris Genge and another from Shannon Moores, to take an 8-6 lead. Robbie Coles, Slader Way, Mitchel Dredge, Brady Coles, and Casey Applin all tallied assists in the third period surge, with Way totaling two helpers.
In a last ditch effort to tie the game up, the Polars managed a goal by Brandon Genge on his second of the night, with assist from Ted Smith and Ryan Pittman, however they came up short as the Selects iced the game with a score by Slader Way with just over three minutes left.
Shannon Moores and Jeremy Caines picked up assists on Way's late period goal.
As tempers flared in the last few minutes, the Polars' Brent Hancock received a game misconduct and a match penalty for a slash to the Selects' Tony Lavalee, who laid down on the ice in a scary few minutes but got to his feet and was helped off by his teammates.
The match penalty would give Hancock a three game suspension, with only a possible four games left in the series, however Polars' coach Brandon Reardon said that he has been released by the team.
A date for game five still wasn't confirmed at press time as some players were taking part in the under 20 provincial broom ball provincial tournament in Grand Falls-Windsor the following weekend.
Follow game five with live updates on Twiiter @IanABMurdoch