Volume 12 Week 5

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Major Midget AA
Jr. Grads win three in a row to force Game 7 against Nepean Raiders
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

After dropping the first three games of their first to seven points OEMHL Major Midget AA final against the Nepean Raiders, the Cumberland Jr. Grads have bounced back to tie the series after winning three straight games including a 4-1 win at the Ray Friel Centre Thursday night.

The two teams will now take part in a winner take all Game 7 tonight at the Nepean Sportsplex, where the Jr. Grads will continue to try and stymie the Raiders defensively while making the most of their own scoring opportunities.

The Jr. Grads have given up just three goals in their last four games including a 1-0 loss to the Raiders in Game 3. Since then they've won 4-0, 2-1 and 4-1.

The improbable comeback was sparked by a trip to the finals in the Leo Boivin Midget AA/AAA Tournament in Prescott last weekend, in which the Jr. Grads lost 3-2 in overtime to a AAA team from York Simcoe.

When the final series resumed on Monday, the Jr. Grads completely overwhelmed Nepean to win 4-0 with Alexis Lamontange playing between the pipes.

Game 5 on Tuesday night was a little tighter, as the two teams went into the final period tied 1-1. With Nepean only needing a tie to get the seven points they needed to win the championship, the Jr. Grads dug deep and pulled out a win on a power play goal by Jeremie Maisonneuve with 7:48 left to go in the game.

Making the win even more remarkable is the fact that it was their ninth game in as many days. The Jr. Grads were also playing without the services of five of their regular starters including two of their defenceman who are out with injuries. To help plug the holes the team has had to call up three players from the Jr. Grads' Minor Midget team.

To make matters even worse, the Jr. Grads lost a third defenceman in Thursday's game to leave them with just four blueliners. Despite having a depleted lineup the team still gutted out a must win thanks to goals from Mathieu Mombourquette Eric Witzel, David Perron and call-up Josh Desrouchie as well as another stellar performance by Lamontagne.

Martin Parent, who's been equally impressive in given up just two goals in his last two games, will get the start in net tonight for the Jr. Grads.

For the eight 19-year-old players on the team, tonight's game will be their last in a Jr. Grads' uniform. It will also be their last shot at winning a league championship. In fact, most of '91 born players have never made it past the first round of the playoffs in their entire minor hockey career.

Head coach Bob Paquette believes the desire of the older players to end their careers with a championship will spur them on to victory tonight.

"That's been our message since the start of the playoffs. Make it count. This is their last year in minor hockey and they want to go out on a high," says Paquette.

In getting to the championship the Jr. Grads have already knocked off the Ottawa Sting and the Kanata Blazers who finished in first place during the regular season. In fact, the Jr. Grads beat the Blazers in three straight games to advance to the final round.

Tonight's game will start at 8 p.m. in the Nepean Sportsplex.

(Posted 9:30 a.m., April 3)

 

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