The Avon River Rats have now moved to within three games of the .500 mark on the 2013-14 season following their 5-0 shutout win over the South Shore Wild in Liverpool Saturday evening.
The Jan. 4 game had been originally scheduled for Friday evening but was moved ahead one night because of the blinding blizzard.
The River Rats’ latest edition to the line up, Stuart Whidden, is paying major dividends as he scored two goals and added an assist in the 5-0 win. The game marked the River Rats’ fourth consecutive victory.
Whidden, the leading scorer for Halifax West in the Metro High School Hockey League last season, is doing everything expected since being signed by the River Rats’ senior executive. He has scored twice and added an assist on the final three goals of the game.
Sam Ross and Wyatt Oulton gave the Hants County-based team a 2-0 lead and then Whidden, with his first of the game, made it 3-0 with 1:14 to play in the first.
Forward Tyler Young, who was recently named to the Nova Scotia Jr. C Hockey League’s first all-star team, scored his 20th goal of the season to make it 4-0 with only 31 seconds gone in the third period.
Whidden then scored his second goal of the game and the fifth for the River Rats on assists from Oulton and captain Dave Phillips with 3:25 remaining in the contest.
The River Rats have their sights set on reaching the .500 mark with their remaining five games in the regular hockey season.
They stand now at 10-13 and have a huge home-and-home series coming up against the Barrington Sea Star Ice Dogs this weekend.
They will travel to Barrington Friday night, Jan. 10, before the Ice Dogs come to Windsor for a 5 p.m. game Sunday afternoon, Jan. 12, at the Hants Exhibition Arena.
Following the games with Barrington, they will entertain the Amherst Colts on Friday, Jan. 17 at 7:45 p.m. They will then return to Barrington on Saturday, Jan. 18 before concluding the regular season with their 28th game on Sunday, Jan. 26 against the Fundy Rhino Renovations. Game time is 5 p.m. at the Hants Exhibition Arena.
The playoffs will begin late January-early February and it is expected, unless there is a dramatic change in the standings, the River Rats will open against Fundy in a Best of Five series.
The Maritime Junior C Hockey Championship is scheduled for Liverpool in March.
River Rats 5, Lions 2
With a scant line-up of players and on orders from the NSJCHL president to have a make-up game played, the River Rats travelled to the University Saint Anne Arena Friday, Dec. 27 to play the Clare Lions.
The River Rats pulled out a 5-2 verdict thanks to a pair of goals from Nelson and singles from Matt Lahey, Phillips and Whidden.
Nelson had three points on the night as he also garnered an assist.
The River Rats led 1-0 after the opening frame, and 3-1 after 40 minutes.
Ryan Debaie stopped 33 of 35 shots directed by the Lions in his direction.