Volume 12 Week 5

Tuesday, April 25


 

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Minor Hockey
Major Atom AA Rangers add playoff banner to regular season flag
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The Major Atom AA Rangers became the first Gloucester team to win an Ontario East Minor Hockey League championship this season after downing the Cumberland Jr. Grads 8-4 at the Richcraft Sensplex on Saturday.

The win gave the Rangers the necessary points they needed to win the first to seven point series 7-3.

The regular season champions and number one seed went into the game having taken five of the last six points up for grabs.

The Gloucester Rangers' Christopher Barlas celebrates after scoring his team's fourth goal in an 8-4 win over the Cumberland Jr. Grads on Saturday. Fred Sherwin/Photo

After losing the series opener 2-0, and having to settle for 4-4 tie in Game 2 prior to the March Break, the Rangers returned from the two-week layoff determined to turn the series around. The result was a convincing 8-2 win on Tuesday, followed by a much more competitive 4-3 victory on Wednesday.

On Saturday, the Jr. Grads were just as determined to either win or tie the game and force the series to Game 6 back in Navan..

Things looked to be going Cumberland's way when Justin Knight scored the opening goal less than two minutes into the first period to give the Jr. Grads the early 1-0 lead.

They also dodged a couple of bullets, killing off 5-on-3 for two minutes and a second Gloucester power play just two minutes after that. At the end of the first period the score remained 1-0 in favour of the Jr. Grads.

The lead didn't hold up for long, however, thanks to Matthew Buckley who scored a pair of goals just 26 seconds apart in the opening minute of the second period to set the Rangers on their way.

Gloucester would add two more unanswered goals by Dylan Paron and Christopher Barlas in the second period to extend their lead to 4-1 before Daylen Moses managed to get one back for Cumberland before the intermission.

Moses scored again at the 1:48 mark of the third to pull the Jr. Grads to within one, but that would be as close as they would get. The two teams exchanged goals before the six minute mark -- the first by Ranger forward Justin Clouthier with Cumberland's response coming from Noah Mcdonell -- to make the score 5-4, and then Gloucester put the game away with three unanswered goals by Ethan Ross, Barlas and Adam Cavallin to start the celebration.

Rangers head coach Mike Paron was understandably of his group of 10-year-olds who only lost two games in going 26-2-2 during the regular season, and were 9-3-1 in the playoffs with a plus 29 goal differential.

"It's been a great season. The kids worked really hard. They bought into the program from day one. They're very selfless, and I'm just very proud of them right now," said Paron, before joining his charges for the team photo.

The Rangers scored 67 goals in 13 playoff games, led by Owen Outwater who had eight goals and 17 assists during their playoff run. Matthew Buckley finished with seven goals and 16 assists, and Justin Clouthier had nine goals and 11 assists.

No fewer than 13 players among the 15 skaters on the team scored at least one goal during the playoffs, including Lucas Veilleux who scored 11 times.

Owen Willgos was in net for five of the team's nine playoff wins and posted a respectable 2.14 GAA. Matthew Saari was between the pipes for the other four wins including Saturday's series clincher.

Two other Gloucester Ranger teams are still in the running for a post season banner. The Major Atom A squad is up 6-4 in their first to seven point final series with the Nepean Raiders, and the Novice A final between the Rangers team and the Kanata Blazers is tied at six points apiece.

Three other teams are facing an uphill battle if they want to bring home a flag. The Major Peewee AA Rangers and the Midget AA squad are both on the brink of elimination, down two points to six.

Team roster: Matthew Saari, Owen Willgos, Noah Jones, Sean Beaudoin, Justin Cloutier, Tanner Fennell, Matthew Buckley, Danik Marion, Malcolm Robertson, Dylan Paron, Lucas Veilleux, Owen Outwater Jakob MacRae, Tristan Caldwell, Ethan Ross, Adam Cavallin and Christopher Barlas. Head coach Mike Paron. Ass't coaches Yves Cloutier, Dave Robertson and Mel Caldwell. Manager Kerry Buckley. Trainer Mitch Veilleux. Fred Sherwin/Photo

(Posted 5:30 p.m., March 26)

 

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