A season-best crowd of over 800 spectators was rendered relatively quiet for a big playoff game at the Alcott Arena Tuesday evening as the visiting Hamilton Red Wings were in control from the start, posting a 5-1 victory over the Georgetown Raiders to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 OHA Provincial Jr. A Hockey League West Division final series. Game three of the matchup was played last night (Thursday) in Hamilton, with game four back in Georgetown Saturday at 7:30 p.m. After a well-played double overtime-loss in the series opener, the Raiders looked out of sorts from the drop of the puck in game two and were fortunate to get out of the first period scoreless, thanks to some Marc Stuart saves. But the Red Wings were in full flight and broke through with a pair of goals 2:46 into the middle period. They outshot the Raiders 33-23 in total and were 3 for 12 on the power play, forcing many more Georgetown turnovers than they made themselves. "The only times we've lost in the playoffs this year are when we lacked discipline and we haven't done that a lot. For the most part the guys have been disciplined and stuck with the systems we put in for the playoffs," said Raiders' coach James Richmond, frustrated by some of his players' needless penalties. "(Tuesday's game) was probably the worst game we've played so far. Our guys were working hard but we were working stupid hard, making wrong reads, the passes were off, things like that. It's not a surprise we're down 2-0 because the first game could have gone either way." The Raiders were presented with a lengthy two-man advantage early in the second period of game two when they trailed 2-0, coming away with just one goal from Jeremy Whelan. First-star Mike Galbraith restored Hamilton's 3-1 lead later in the period and Georgetown mustered just three shots in the final frame on Cameron Talbot, considered one of the best Tier II goalies in Canada. By that stage, Raider supporters who had been straining to hear the arena's inaudible sound system while waving White Towel Power cloths, were mostly stuffing the latter in their pockets as keepsakes, not wanting to show any signs of surrender. The enigmatic Whelan tried to ruffle the Red Wings by running into Talbot behind the net late in game two with the outcome already decided, causing Chris Dunsmuir to come to his netminder's aid. Whelan was expected to play in game three as his suspension could be swapped for a fine. Richmond gave his team Wednesday night off from practice in hopes of getting a crisper effort for game three at Mountain Arena, where the Raiders hope to be for game five on Monday night. Should the series be stretched to the limit, the teams will play on three consecutive days to declare a champ, with the winner likely moving on to face Aurora in the OPJAHL semifinals. NOTES: Raider forward Greg Lever left Tuesday's contest with an arm injury and his status was uncertain Thursday...Fans can purchase a commemorative St. Patrick's Day/Raiders t-shirt for $5 at Saturday's game four.
Georgetown Raiders' forward Jeremy Whelan thought he might get a penalty shot after getting tripped up on his way to the net during the second period of Tuesday's game two of the OPJAHL West Division championship series at Alcott Arena. Whelan scored on the following power play but goalie Cam Talbot and the Hamilton Red Wings were a step ahead all night and won 5-1, grabbing a 2-0 series lead.