Volume 12 Week 5

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Minor Midget AA
Gloucester Rangers capture Minor Midget AA championship
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The Gloucester Rangers pose for a picture with the championship trophy after downing the Rideau St. Lawrence Kings 5-1 on Saturday to win the OEMHL Minor Midget AA title. Fred Sherwin/Photo


The Gloucester Rangers are the OEMHL Minor Midget AA champions after downing the Rideau St. Lawrence Kings 5-1 on Saturday to capture their first to seven points final series eight points to four.

The third seeded Rangers put themselves in a position to win the title after skating to a 2-0 win over the Kings in Prescott on Thursday. Needing a win to clinch the championship, the Rangers came out flying own home ice Saturday and completely dominated the first five minutes of play with the Kings barely getting out of their own end.

Unfortunately the lopsided play on the ice failed to reflect itself on the score sheet as Kings goalie Dallas Slack made several key saves to keep his team in the game including an act of highway robbery on Scott Mcllroy who had rattled a shot off the post earlier in the period.

The Rangers finally got on the scoreboard with 1:22 left to go in the opening stanza when Matthew Shaheen beat Slack five hole on a backhand shot.

The Kings responded with under a minute to play in the period when Brett Costello intercepted a pass at the blueline and then outmuscled the defenceman on the play to break in on Rangers' goalie Philip Eberley before using his long reach to wedge the puck between the far post and Eberley's outstretched leg.

Considering the Rangers dominated the balance of play in the first period, the Kings were fortunate to escape with the score tied 1-1.

The tie held up for all of one minute and 27 seconds in the second stanza before the Rangers scored the go ahead goal on the power play thanks to Ryan Nugent who banged in a pass from Cameron Bakker from the side of the net.

Eberley made a great toe save off a shot from Matt Jarvis a little over a minute later to keep the Rangers in front. Then with 6:08 left in the period McIlroy made up for his earlier missed opportunity by banging home a rebound after Slack failed to gather in a shot from Shaheen.

Less than two minutes later, Bakker intercepted a clearing attempt in the Kings' end and then fired a wrist shot that beat Slack stick side to put the Rangers up 4-1. From there the game degenerated into a head-hunting exhibition as the Kings ignored the score in favour of taking repeated runs at the Rangers.

The final period took nearly 40 minutes to play before the referee finally called the game with 2:13 left on the clock. In the end, the Rangers outshot the Kings 47-22.

Rangers head coach Paul Eberley, credited the team's success to their work ethic both during the games and at practice.

"These guys were committed to winning the championship from the get go. They sacrificed a lot. In fact, no one went away for the March break. They all decided to stay home and practice so they'd be ready once the finals resumed on Thursday," said Eberley who coached the Minor Midget Rangers to the AA championship last year.

The Rangers finished the regular season with a record of 16-8-8 which was good enough for third place. They knocked off the sixth seed Kanata Blazers in four games in the quarterfinals, including a pair of ties, before dispatching the second seed Nepean Raiders in just three games in the semi-finals.

Gloucester opened the finals with a pair of wins on March 9 and 11 to take a commanding four points to none lead and then Rideau St. Lawrence fought back to win games three and four by identical scores of 3-2.

The turnaround game was on Thursday night when Louis Nadeau and Jamie Quinn both scored for the Rangers and Eberley posted the goose egg. The Rangers will now compete in the Tournament of Champions which gets underway next week in Carleton Place.

Team roster: John McGlade, Rob Somerville, Michael Keenan, Jamie Quinn, Jesse Brown, Scott McIlroy, Simon Berthelotte, Ryan Nugent, Tayler Widenmaier, Cameron Bakker, Jake Rupert, Elias Ghantous, Kevin Fraser, Louis Nadeau and Matthew Shaheen. Head Coach Paul Eberley, Ass't Coach Chris Fraser, Manager Brian Nugent and Trainer Jamie Rupert.

 

(Posted 9:30 a.m., March 29)

 

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