It’s been a long time since the Petrolia Squires made it to the finals.
Long-time Captain Jeremiah Goodacre was on the 2009-2010 team that faced Elora in the finals. “It’s been a while,” he says with a grin. But after a convincing win at home Sunday, it appears the Squires are ready to do some damage.
The Squires bucked the trend of road team victories last Saturday night in the series against Mapleton Minto to punch their ticket to the final. Petrolia hammered the 81’s 9-1 Sunday.
Up until game six, the visitors had won the five previous games in the best-of-seven series, but the Squires came out of the gate quickly in what turned out to be the decisive game with five goals in the first period en route to the series-clinching victory.
Jason McPhail led Petrolia with a four-goal performance, while Dan Veenema and Corey Pawley each had two goals and an assist. Steve Farlow had the other Squires’ goal.
Brandon Campbell blocked 37 shots for the goaltending victory.
Ryan Trottier set the stage for the series-clinching win on home ice with a shorthanded overtime marker to give the Squires a 2-1 win in Drayton on Friday night.
Goodacre says this is the most talented team he’s played with over the last 19 years. “It’s a far deeper team than it used to be,” he tells The Independent. “It is definitely the deepest, most talented group I’ve been a part of.”
That should serve them well facing their rivals – the Clinton Radars. The Radars turfed the Squires from the second round last season and Goodacre thinks this time will be different. Goodacre says the Radars have about seven top-rated players and two strong lines. The Squires, he says, have four strong lines of about equal strength. “They’re going to get tired and provided we stay out of the penalty box, we should do well.”
Goodacre says that has been a problem this year. “If we play five on five hockey, I believe we have a very good chance to win.”
It might not be pretty. Goodacre says there isn’t a lot of love lost for Clinton. “We respect them like crazy and we hate them like crazy.”
Only one point separated the third place Squires and the fourth place Radars in the regular season standings with the difference being a game awarded to Petrolia early in the season due to Clinton’s use of an ineligible player. The Radars had won the game, 5-3.
And he says going into the Radar’s barn can be intimidating. They routinely pack 1,300 people in the place with rabid fans tossing beer and water bottles at the players.
“We’re hoping our barn can be just as intimidating… When we have a full barn our fans can be very passionate and as intimidating as they can.”
And Goodacre says the Squires are ready for the fight to the finish. “In past years, we got to the playoffs because of grit,” he says. “This year, if we continue with the grit and with the talent that we have, then we will be successful.”