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CJHL Hockey
Grads shake off mini-slump, with pair of wins over inter-divisional opponents
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

After dropping four games in a row, the Cumberland Grads have righted themselves by winning back-to-back games over the Smiths Falls Bears and the Kanata Stallions.

The Grads weathered a 19-shot barrage in the first period against the Bears Friday night and only trailed 1-0 thanks to the goaltending heroics of Adam Laderoute.

Cumberland responded with a strong second period in which they outshot Smiths Falls 15-8. Mitch Gallant tied the game with a power play goal at the 3:44 mark of the period and then Chris Murphy scored what would turn out to be the game winning goal midway through the second.

Laderoute came up big again in the third period, turning away all 16 Smiths Falls shots while Jordan Fequet added an insurance marker for the Grads early on in the period.

In Sunday's game against Kanata, the Grads took advantage of some sloppy goaltending on the part of Stallions netminder Stephane Cesar to take a 4-1 first period lead. Mitch Gallant, Michael Nooyen, David Pacan and Brock Plouffe all scored for Cumberland while Chris Martin got the lone marker for Kanata.

The Grads eventually chased Cesar from the net at the 5:30 mark of the second period when Mathieu Oullette scored to give Cumberland a 5-2 lead. David Pacan then scored a shorthanded goal on Cesar's replacement Christian Mastromattei to give the Grads a commanding four goal lead.

The two teams exhanged goals in the early part of the third period with Brett Ashton and Mark Borkowski scoring just 15 seconds apart. A little over a minute later Derek Froats beat Grads netminder John Griggs to narrow the deficit to 7-4, but that would be as close as they would get. Jeffrey Clarke's goal at the 18:49 mark of the third period off a tremendous tape to tape pass from Gallant would make the final 8-4.

For Griggs is was his first win in a Grads uniform since being acquired from the Pembroke Lumber Kings via the Hawkesbury Hawks prior to the trade deadline on Jan. 10.

With the win the Grads have picked up five of a possible six points in their last three games. Head coach Mark Grady says the team appears to have finally come out of the their mid-January funk which saw them lose four games in a row.

"We were a bit lucky in that their goalie was weak today, but now we'll have a few days to get some solid practices in and get ready for the Gloucester Rangers Friday night," said Grady who was especially happy with the play of 16-year-old defenceman Kevin Lough in Sunday's game. "He was great, especially on the penalty kill and killing off the 5-on-3."

The Grads have the next four days off to prepare for their east end rivals. It's the longest break they've had since Jan. 2. They've played 13 games over the span of the last 23 days, winning six and losing seven over that stretch. A win over the Rangers would even their record at 7-7 for the month.

They play their next three games on the road before returning to the Navan Memorial Arena on Sunday, Feb. 24to take on the Hawkesbury Hawks. Game time is 3 p.m.

(Posted 11:30 a.m., Jan. 26)

 

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