The Innisfil Spartans were unable to get between the pipes Tuesday, losing 3-0 to the McLean & Dickey Orillia Terriers.
The win gives the Terriers a commanding 3-1 lead in the first-round Provincial Junior Hockey League playoff Series.
Both teams played with a sense of urgency in the first period, recording a combined 29 shots on goal. However, it was the Terriers who took to the scoreboard 13 minutes into the period when forward Kory Lund made a phenomenal play off a back check to win possession. He then fired the puck up ice to his linemate, Brady McLaren, who then fed it over to Jayden Murison for a snipe in front of the goal crease that brought the Rotary Place crowd to its feet.
“My line has been buzzing around out there all series," Murison said. “It felt good to be able to put one up on the board.”
Murison feels his goal was crucial to continuing his team's momentum from their 5-4 victory in Game 3.
“It got us way more on our feet,” he said “Especially with the crowd behind us, it really got the boys going.”
The second period had the crowd of around 457 Jr. C hockey fans on the edge of their seats. The Terriers peppered Spartans goalie Aidan Jerry with 19 shots in the frame, and while he kept his team in the game by stopping 18 of them, the Terriers would finally break through on their second power play of the game. Terriers' forward Noah Mountain was the one to fire it home off a pass from Colton Dumond.
“Their goalie had a pretty good game,” Mountain said. “Also, when the pressure is on it’s hard to finish sometimes.”
Mountain says he felt relieved when he was finally able to bury one past Jerry.
“The way we were playing, we knew the goals were going to come,” he said. “Everyone was hyped when we finally got that one.”
Up two going into the third period, the Terriers found themselves in penalty trouble. Forward Marcus Petroff took a four-minute head contact penalty just two minutes in. Then the Terriers got caught with too many men on the ice, giving the Spartans a five-on-three opportunity.
“I was confident in our penalty kill,” said Terriers’ goaltender Reed Spinola. “Our guys have been good all year in those situations and they make it easy for me.”
Spinola didn’t flinch during the penalty kill and the Terriers were able to get back to even strength with no harm done.
Minutes later the Terriers would get a power play of their own where they would put the game on ice. Devon Edmonds drove the crease and slid one by Jerry to extend the score to 3-0.
Spinola stopped all 28 shots he faced on the night, earning his first career playoff shutout.
“It feels good,” he said. “It always feels good to get a win this time of year, but a shutout makes it even better.”
Spinola, who’s started all four playoff games, says he feels locked in heading into Game 5.
“I’m definitely in a groove for sure,” he said. “It makes it easy to keep going.”
The Terriers will head to Innisfil on Friday night with a chance to close out the series. Game time is 8:30 p.m.
Captain Dylan Palomaki says the Terriers are playing their best hockey heading into the series-clinching opportunity.
“I think we played our best game today for sure,” he said. “We have to build off this energy and keep getting better every game.”
If necessary, Game 6 would bring the series back to Rotary Place on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.