Volume 12 Week 5

Wednesday, Aug. 23


 

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Minor Midget RepB
Orleans Blues complete championship sweep to win Minor Midget RepB crown
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The Orleans Blues Minor Midget RepB team added the league championship to their regular season title after downing the Gloucester Blackhawks 2-0 on Saturday to complete their championship sweep.

After failing to make the playoffs last year, the Blues were nothing short of dominating during the regular season in racking up a 23-4-3 record to finish in first place by 10 points. They're goals against average was a paltry 1.67, which was a full goal a game better than their next rivals.

After sweeping past the Kanata Blazers in the opening round of the playoffs 3-0 and 5-2, they knocked off the Ottawa in two straight games 4-2 and 6-4 to earn a berth in the finals against the Gloucester Blackhawks who are a great story in their own right,

After patching together a roster that included seven house league players and a bantam aged call-up, the Blackhawks were wallowing in 10th place by mid-December. They then went on a six game winning streak sparked by a 3-1 win over Casselman on Dec. 10.

After suffering a pair of losses on Jan. 31 and Feb. 9, they wrapped up their regular season schedule with four wins and a tie to finish in sixth place. They then knocked off the third and second place teams in the first two rounds of the playoffs to earn a berth in the finals.

After losing the first game 5-1, they gutted out a 1-1 tie in Game 2 to extend the series an extra game. Their lack of offence combined with the Blues stingy defence would catch up to the Blackhawks, however, and Orleans would end up winning the title on goals from Curtis Smith and Phillip David. Chirs Collins picked up the shutout in net for the Blues.

Despite the loss, Blackhawks head coach Jim Walker was justifiably proud of his team for making it as far as they did.

"Before the season started no one even expected us to make the playoffs. We had seven guys come out to the first week of tryouts, but we went out and found some boys and they managed to jell together as a team and they came a long way," said Walker. "For a lot of these guys this is the only time they'll get to play together."

Outside the Blues dressing room, Orleans head coach Kevin Gallagher couldn't say enough about his players commitment to defense.

"There's no question our defensive play won us the championship. Once we got up two goals, we just grinded it out and that's the way its been all year. These guys just worked hard and stuck to the system. They were very easy to coach," said Gallagher who also credited the team's veteran leadership with keeping everyone focused on the task at hand, especially team captain Justin Tourigny.

And the Blues aren't finished yet. They'll play in the Tournament of Champions next weekend and then they're scheduled to play in a season ending tournament in Pickering during the Easter weekend.

The Orleans Blues pose for a team picture after winning the ODMHL Minor Midget Rep B championship on Saturday. Fred Sherwin/Photo

(Posted 11:30 a.m., March 29)

 

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