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CJHL Hockey
Grads grab share of third place with win over Raiders
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The Cumberland Grads have moved into a third place tie in the Central Junior Hockey League after downing the Nepean Raiders 4-2 on Sunday.

Despite getting outshot 8-3 in the first period, the Grads managed to escape the opening stanza with a 1-1 tie when Raiders' goalie Darren MacDonald left his crease to play the puck only to have it intercepted by Matt Miller who threw a pass across to Brock Plouffe who easily scored into a wide open net.

The game remained knotted at a goal apiece until the dying moments of the second period when Daniel Sauve scored on a blast from the top of the left faceoff circle that beat MacDonald high stick side.

The Raiders eventually tied the game again on Scott Cowie's second power play goal of the game at the 11:56 mark of the third period. After Adam Laderoute made the initial save on a shot from the point by Joey Manley, the rebound came to Cowie who slid a shot into the far side of the net.

With the score tied 2-2, the Grads continued to step up their play in the third period which led to the eventual game winning goal by Chris Murphy with just over five minutes left on the clock.

The Grads would add an insurance marker with 1:12 left to go in the game on a highlight play that saw Marc-Andre Labelle carry the puck across the Raiders' blueline before throwing a tape-to-tape pass to Jeffrey Clarke who deftly slipped the puck past MacDonald on his backhand.

With the win the Grads improved their lead atop the Robinson Division by 10 points over the Ottawa Jr. Sens, but more importantly they moved into a third place tie in the overall standings with the Smiths Falls Bears and they have two games in hand.

The win also improved the Grads' record at home to 15-7-1-0, which is one win shy of the Raiders and Bears who have both won 16 games at home so far this season.

The Grads managed to pick up a top notch goalie prior to Saturday's trade deadline in John Griggs who they acquired from the Pembroke Lumber Kings by way of the Hawkesbury Hawks for Tim Hennessey and Ottawa's 3rd round selection in the 2009 draft.

Griggs started 24 games for the league-leading Lumber Kings and won 15 of them. He posted a league high five shutouts and had the second lowest goals against average at just over two goals a game, despite having only the seventh best save percentage.

Grads head coach and general manager Mark Grady says he plans to platoon Laderoute and Griggs for the remainder of the season in order to keep both goalies fresh for the playoffs.

"They're two top notch goalies and I have confidence in both of them. I just want to make sure that they're healthy and fresh going down the stretch," says Grady.

Griggs will likely get his first start for the Grads when they host the Lumber Kings on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.

(Posted 2:30 a.m., Jan. 13)

 

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