Smiths Falls Settlers win tough battle over Maniwaki in CPJHL league action

by Laurie Weir

It was a Monday night battle on the ice Oct. 23 as the Smiths Falls Settlers doubled up on the Maniwaki Mustangs in regular season action of the Canadian Premier Junior Hockey League (CPJHL).

The win gave the Settlers sole possession of first place in the eastern division conference with a 9-1 record for 18 points – four points ahead of the Mustangs, who have a game in hand.

Coach Frank Morris said the boys played disciplined hockey and didn’t get “sucked into unnecessary penalties” which he said they did well accomplishing tonight.

“We’ve been going through a big learning curve with that but they’re making progress and I think they showed that tonight,” he said as the team headed to the dressing room following their big win.

It was a no-score deadlock after the first period, but the Settlers potted a pair in the second to take the lead which they never relinquished.

At 3:27, Jovani Moses scored from Felix Stephen and Jarius Moar to open it up.

The game got a little scrappy at the 7:39 mark as Maniwaki’s Zachary Decontie and Tyrone FieVre-Rene with both ejected for fighting, along with Smiths Falls’ Shonwahnokon Thompson.

Following that tussle, which stopped play for a few minutes to sort out, Smiths Falls came back with the second goal of the game at the 1:34 mark. It was Stephen with the credit, as he fought back from a jab to the face which required an ice pack to soothe momentarily.  Assisting on the team’s second goal was Darius Shashaweskum.

Into the final period, Smiths Falls scored their third marker with the credit going to Raymond Jolly from Moses.

The Mustangs shot back with their first of two as Samwillie Peters got past Kyle Felix at 5:29.

Otto Thomas replied for Smiths Falls as he scored at 3:49, assisted by Moses and Maverick Baxtrom.

But it was the Mustangs with the final marker of the night as Alexander-James Kisthabish had the team’s second and final goal of the game.

Morris said he was proud of the team, and how they performed. He added that the only way to beat this “very good hockey team” from Maniwaki was to stay out of the penalty box.

“The only way we can beat them is five on five – we can’t take penalties. We learned that down in Erie, Pennsylvania. We got into penalty trouble and fell behind 2-0 in the first game, but we came back to win it, and the second game we were down 4-0 and came back to win it and it was all because of penalties," he said as for the reason they fell behind early.

"We’ve gone through a really big learning curve. We’ve got a long way to go yet – it’s a long season but we’ve got to play five-on-five hockey to do it. We’re not a blow-out hockey team; we’re not going to blow teams away but we’re a good, strong, defensive hockey team.”

It was a 7-6 win for the Settlers over the Erie Eagles Sunday, Oct. 22.

The game winner came from Thomas as the Settlers roared back from a 4-1 deficit to take this one.

Stephen let the scoring with a hat trick, while Thomas added two and Thompson and Baxtrum had singles.

Saturday, it was a 6-2 Settlers win over the Eagles.

Reilly DeGray, Moses (2), Baxtrom, Thompson and Darian Cheezo had the goals in this win.

Next up for the Settlers will be Saturday, Oct. 28 with a 7:30 p.m. puck drop in Almonte against the Sharpshooters. Sunday, they take on the Falcons at 1:30 p.m. in Barry’s Bay. On Saturday, Nov. 4, the team will host Almonte at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 5, Smiths Falls will travel to Baltimore for a 2 p.m. game against the Galaxy.