Matrix stave off elimination

Eric McCarthy
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Play Regals in Game 4 Sunday in Cornwall

ALBERTON -- A second period goal by defenceman James Murphy and standout goaltending from Alex Smith was the difference as the Mid-Isle Matrix downed the Western Regals 2-1 Saturday night at the Jacques Cartier Arena to stave off elimination in the Island Midget AAA Hockey League championship series. The Regals still lead the series 2-1. Game Four in the series is Sunday, 6:20 p.m. at the APM Centre in Cornwall and Game Five, if necessary, is back in Alberton Tuesday at 8:15 p.m.

Cody Miller got the puck back to Murphy who was skating just inside the Regal’s blueline along the right boards. He sent a blast through traffic that beat Regals netminder Avery Arsenault just under the crossbar on the blocker side. The winning goal came at 4:55 of the second period.

The teams had traded goals fourteen seconds apart midway through the first period. Ben Keefe from Drew Grady and Miller at 11:02 from a scramble in front of Arsenault put the Matrix up 1-0 but at 11:16 Chase McCue from Will Stewart and Jason Gallant, fired a quick one from along the right boards that handcuffed Smith just inside the left post.

Sensing a possible championship trophy presentation, the arena was packed to capacity for the game.

“We obviously expected different on the ending, but the boys played pretty hard, for the most part,” commented Regals coach Brett Corcoran following the final whistle.

Corcoran felt Smith was the difference in the outcome.

“He played solid. We fired lots of shots at him,” Corcoran commented. “ We just couldn’t get anything by him. He saw all of the shots. We couldn’t get the traffic in front of the net that we were looking for.”

The Regals had a two-man power play for 1:49 in the first period but couldn’t capitalize. Actually it was a 5-2 advantage for at least 10 seconds while an injured Mid-Isle forward struggled to get off the ice.

Overall, each team was assessed eight minors. The Regals also picked up a 10-minute misconduct.

The league is going with a two referee format for the championship series and Corcoran felt players on both teams are starting to learn they can’t get away with much with an extra set of eyes on the ice. That’s the format that will be used for the Atlantic Midget AAA Hockey championship that the Regals will host from March 27 to 30. The Regals will participate as host team and the Matrix are attending as the P.E.I. representative in the five-team tournament.

Geographic location: Cornwall

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