Volume 12 Week 5

Sunday, Jan. 20


Posted Jan. 10

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Orléans Ward
Matt Luloff

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney





(Posted 3:30 p.m., Feb. 23)
Grads solidify hold on third place with big win over Brockville
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The Cumberland Grads' chances of finishing in third place in the CJHL's overall standings are now looking a whole lot better after they downed the Brockville Braves 6-4 at the Navan Memorial Arena on Sunday.

The Grads had to shake off a disappointing shootout loss to the Pembroke Lumber Kings on Friday in which they gave up five unanswered goals in the third period.

With third place potentially on the line, the match-up between the Grads and the Braves had all the atmosphere of a playoff game.

The team's top scorer Marc-Andre Labelle set the tone early, with a spectacular shorthanded goal at the 6:42 mark of the opening period. After Labelle chipped the puck past the defenceman and into the Braves end, Brockville netminder Matt Jenkins misplayed it right onto Labelle's stick who simply chipped it into the net for the goal.

David Pacan then made it 2-0 midway through the period on a beautiful tic-tac-toe play from Jeffrey Clarke and Labelle who would end up with three points on the afternoon.

The Braves would eventually tie the score on a pair of power play goals by Mark Williamson and Scott Sabourin, the last one coming with just 59 seconds left in the opening period, before Brock Plouffe scored his first of three goals with 35 seconds left in the period.

Brockville then took the lead with a pair of goals in the second period, the first one coming at the 40 second mark and the second one being scored on the power play with just a second left on the clock.

Plouffe's second of the game and 33rd of the year would tie the contest at the 1:46 mark of the third period. Mark Borkowski made a nifty pass on the play from the side boards across to Plouffe who snuck behind the defenceman on the far side of the net before scoring.

The eventual game winner was scored by call-up Luke McBride who jammed a loose puck past Jenkins after Pacan took the original shot on the play.

Up 5-4 at that point, the Grads had to kill off a 5-on-3 for nearly a minute and then a 6-on-4 for 32 seconds as the Braves pulled Jenkins for an extra attacker with Michael Nooyen still serving out the second penalty.

The Grads dodged a bullet with 2:35 left in the game when Maxime Dumond ricocheted what would have been the tying goal off the post. As it turned out, the home team hung on for the win as Plouffe put an exclamation point on the victory with an empty net goal with three seconds left to complete his hat trick.

With the win the Grads are now seven points up on the Braves with two games left to play against the Hawkesbury Hawks and the Ottawa Junior Senators. If they win both, the Braves will have to win all six of their remaining games to finish ahead of Cumberland. Should they end up tying, the Grads hold the edge in head-to-head action with four wins over the Braves against only two losses.

Grads head coach Mark Grady says his team will take advantage of the extra time they will have off between their next game on Wednesday and their last game of the season which is a week Friday.

"We're not ready yet, but we're going to be ready. I though we played hard today and we coached hard. We had to make some tough decisions behind the bench which not everyone agreed with, but their the type of decisions you need to make if you want to win tough hockey games," said Grady, who was especially pleased with the play of the team's leading scorer.

"I thought Clarke had a great game. When your leading scorer is your toughest and hardest hitting player and out there setting an example that's a good thing."

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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