Whalers Hammer Sarnia, 11-2, in Game 1Mar 22, 2013 - 19:45 EDT
Photo - Plymouth's Stefan Noesen (blue jersey, 11) scores on a breakaway in the second period Friday night in the Whalers' 11-2 victory over Sarnia at Compuware Arena. Photo by Rena Laverty.
PLYMOUTH – Vince Trocheck scored three goals with two assists and Stefan Noesen and Garrett Meurs scored two goals each as the Plymouth Whalers defeated the Sarnia Sting, 11-2, in Game 1 of a best-four-of-seven Ontario Hockey League Western Conference quarterfinal series played Friday night at Compuware Arena.
First-star Nick Malysa recorded three assists for Plymouth, a career high in one game for the veteran defenseman. Zach Lorentz and Connor Carrick contributed two assists each.
Tom Wilson, Gianluca Curcuruto, Matt Mistele and Cody Payne all scored one goal each for the Whalers, who led 5-1 after one period and 8-2 after forty minutes. In all, 14 of the 18 Plymouth skaters scored at least one point each.
Charles Sarault and Reid Boucher replied for Sarnia. Plymouth outshot Sarnia, 50-33.
Trocheck's five points and Meurs' pair of goals are career highs in a game in the playoffs.
The Whalers struck early and often. The Noesen, Rickard Rakell, Sebastian Uvira line started the game and were effective on the forecheck. Wilson set up the first goal of the game, scored by Trocheck, with a thunderous hit in the Plymouth zone. Malysa picked up the puck and head-manned it to Trocheck, who was stopped on the original shot by Sarnia goaltender J.P. Anderson. Trocheck reached around Anderson to score from the blue ice at 1:12.
Wilson scored on the severe-angle, right corner at 6:38.
After Sarault banked the puck off a Plymouth defender to cut the Plymouth lead to 2-1, the Whalers raced to a 5-1 lead before the end of the period on goals by Meurs at 14:12, Trocheck again at 16:22 and a re-direct by Noesen at 19:56 (set up by Uvira).
"A lot of things went right," said Trocheck. "The puck is bouncing in our direction and we had some luck, but we're working hard. The first game of the playoffs, everyone is really excited to be playing. So we came out hard in the first period and continued into the second. We have three first-lines, realistically. To be able to have them match up against second and third lines on other teams is really big.
"We have a lot of guys on this team that have certain roles and everyone is contributing."
Plymouth extended the lead to 7-1 in the second period on a power play goal by Meurs at 2:56 (severe-angle, left wing, popping the water bottle) and Noesen at 7:01 (excellent stretch pass by Lorentz connecting to Noesen, who scored on a breakaway). After Boucher scored for Sarnia at 12:18 on a power play to cut the Plymouth lead to 7-2, Curcuruto scored at 14:53, taking the puck at the top of the right circle in the Sarnia zone, spinning away from a Sarnia defender and scoring from the lower rim of the circle.
Trocheck (deflection at 1:14), Mistele (rebound on a power play at 11:14) and Payne (caromed a shot off Anderson's shoulder at 18:38) finished the scoring in the third period.
The Whalers have scored 11 goals in a playoff game before. On March 20, 1995, the Whalers - then known as the Detroit Jr. Red Wings – beat London, 11-0, in Game 1 of a first-round playoff series in a game played at Joe Louis Arena. On April 26, 1995, the Jr. Red Wings defeated the Sudbury Wolves, 11-4, in Game 7 of the OHL semi-finals.
Plymouth’s all-time record for goals scored in a game is 13 in a 13-3 win over Windsor on Dec.10, 1995.
Game 2 of the series is set for Saturday at 7 pm at Compuware Arena (6:45 pm, 88.1FM WSDP, 7 pm, Comcast 900).