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StreetTalk with Mike Hayakawa

It was the same team they played against and on the same ice surface. Only this time, after a two-day wait, the final outcome was more rewarding for the Markham Waxers, who rallied for a 4-3 road win over the Wexford Raiders Tuesday to take a two games to one lead in its best-of-seven Provincial Junior A Hockey League South Conference semi-final series.

"It was a matter of putting the puck on the net and getting rebounds."
Russ Herrington

The victory also ended a hex of sorts as it marked the first time the Waxers skated off with a positive result in the Raiders' den in almost 2 years.

"We knew that we had to win one game here if we hope to win the series," said a relieved Waxers head coach Russ Herrington upon conclusion of the game. "It's nice to get it done now."

In assessing the difference between Sunday's 5-2 loss and Tuesday's win, Herrington felt his club executed the little things required to get the job done. It also didn't hurt that the puck bounced their way on occasion in a place where it's tough for visiting teams to get, he added.

"I thought we played better tonight than on Sunday," he said. "I thought our goals were well earned. It was just a matter of putting the puck on the net and getting rebounds. Tonight things happened for us."

A case in point came late in the second period. Trailing 2-1, the Waxers knotted the count with just 16 seconds left in the period when Jesse Boucher gathered a loose puck from in front of the Raiders net and deposited it past goalie Tim Knight.

The Waxers' celebration was shortlived just 50 seconds into the third period as the Raiders regained the lead when a shot from the point deflected past goalkeeper Rick Marnon.

"We just kept saying on the bench that we deserved a better fate than what we got," said Herrington after the Raiders recorded their third goal. "It's a credit to our leadership group. There were a lot of positive things said on the bench when we could easily have gotten frustrated," he added.

A big stop by Marnon on a breakaway attempt by Raiders forward and Markham resident Ryan Panet seemed to turn the tide back in favour of the Waxers. After generating several good scoring opportunities, the Waxers were finally rewarded just past the halfway point when Jason Young corralled a rebound left by Knight and banged it home to tie the score at 3-3.

A few minutes later, the Waxers deposited the eventual game-winning goal when Steve Nobili grabbed a rebound off a shot taken by Young and took two swipes at it before crossing the goal line.

The lead wasn't safe until the final buzzer sounded as the Raiders pulled Knight in favour of an extra attacker and created some havoc around the Waxers' goal only to come up short.

"I felt we had the momentum in the third period even when they (the Raiders) got the first goal in the third," said Herrington. "Just seven seconds or so after that goal we came back and hit the post. I felt we generated a lot of scoring chances. We moved the puck well and we took what they gave us. I thought we showed a lot of resolve tonight. It was a fantastic game to watch if you paid to get in."


This article was written by Mike Hayakawa and published in the Markham Economist and Sun. Minor edits may have been performed to the original article.

This has been reproduced with permission.

Kevin Tompkins staked the Waxers to a 1-0 lead in the first period on a power-play goal before the Raiders evened the count before the period came to a close.

In looking ahead to Friday's  fourth game at Centennial Arena, which will begin at 8 p.m., Herrington insists there's no added pressure on his club to retain its home ice advantage. "If we do we'll be in trouble. Maybe it will help relax us a bit."

On a separate note, the Waxers were minus the services of defenceman Andy Schofield, who was ill...seeing service for the first time in the postseason was forward Jim Stamatopoulos, who was signed by the club late in the season. Stamatopoulos was with the Waxers last season before being dealt to Stouffville, but failed to report there...the Waxers announced that any youngster attending Friday's game at Centennial Arena will be admitted free as part of Markham Minor Hockey day. The fifth game of the series will return to the Scarborough Arena Gardens on Sunday at 7 p.m. If a sixth game is needed, it will return to Centennial Arena on Monday at 8:15 p.m.

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