Port Hope Panthers Even Playoff Series with 5-3 Win over Frankford

In Hockey
By Jeff Gard/Today’s Northumberland
A third-period goal by Nathan Ford powered the host Port Hope Panthers to a 5-3 win over the Frankford Huskies on Friday night at the Jack Burger Sports Complex.
The best-of-seven opening round playoff series in the Provincial Junior Hockey League’s Tod Division is now tied at one game apiece. Game 3 is Saturday night at the Frankford Arena with puck drop scheduled for 6:50 p.m.
Ford’s goal, scored with 12 second left in a power play at the 8:31 mark of the final frame, put the Panthers back in the lead and slowed down the surging Huskies, which had just battled back from a two-goal deficit.
“That was massive, that was a big turning point for us,” said Panthers captain Drew Clapperton, who led the way with two goals and an assist in the victory. “We kind of let off the gas a little bit and once that went in we started hemming them in pretty good.”
Clapperton, with his second tally of the contest, secured the victory with an empty-net goal late in regulation time.
Port Hope took a 3-1 lead into the third period before Karsten Leonard and Phoenix Smith, on a power play, scored less than two minutes apart for the Huskies to even the score at three.
Connor MacGregor opened the scoring for the Panthers two minutes into the game before Frankford’s Jakob Gardner answered back at the 5:42 mark. Cole Kimble restored the Port Hope lead at the 11:52 mark of the first and Clapperton bolstered it to two with the lone goal of the second period, a power-play marker with just over two minutes to play in that middle frame.
The Panthers were blanked 4-0 in the series-opening game Wednesday night in Port Hope as Frankford goaltender Hayden Candler made 45 saves to record the shutout.
In Game 2, the Panthers solved Candler four times on 22 shots. Sam Dingle made 20 saves at the other end to earn the win in net for Port Hope.
Clapperton praised Dingle’s performance and said all lines were rolling as they battled a hungry Huskies team that has made great strides in just its second season in the PJHL.
“They’re a tough team to play,” Clapperton said. “They work hard, especially in their own barn – they know the bounces. It’s going to be a long series, but we’re ready for it.”
The series shifts to Frankford for Game 3 on Saturday night and Game 4 on Tuesday.
“A little bit of a smaller barn. The boards are a little more alive, so you just have to be a little more aware out there and it’s a little smaller ice surface,” Clapperton said. “Once we adapt to that, we’ll be okay.”
With the Panthers win to even the series Friday, there will now be a Game 5 for sure Wednesday night in Port Hope. Game time is 7 p.m. at the Jack Burger Sports Complex.
(Best-of-seven series tied 1-1)
Wednesday, March 8
Frankford 4 Port Hope 0
Friday, March 10
Port Hope 5 Frankford 3
Saturday, March 11
Port Hope at Frankford, 6:50 p.m.
Tuesday, March 14
Port Hope at Frankford, 6:50 p.m.
Wednesday. March 15
Frankford at Port Hope, 7 p.m.
Friday, March 17
*Frankford at Port Hope, 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 18
*Port Hope at Frankford. 6:50 p.m.
– if necessary
Jeff Gard
Author: Jeff Gard

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