Atom A Rangers complete championship hat trick
By Fred Sherwin
the Gloucester Rangers good things really do come in threes,
as in three OEMHL playoff championships.
Romano carries the Major Atom A championship
trophy aloft as his teammates look on following
their Game 7 win over the Nepean Raiders on
Thursday. Fred Sherwin/Photo
Thursday, the Major Atom A squad became the third Rangers
team to capture a championship banner this season when
they beat the Nepean Raiders 2-1 in the seventh and deciding
game of their seven game series..
the visiting team won the first two games, the series
played true to form the rest of the way with the home
team winning the next four games including Thursday's
decider at the Richcraft Sensplex.
in familiar surroundings, the Rangers looked every bit
like a team on a mission in the first period, outshooting
the Raiders 6-1 and scoring the game's opening goal on
shot by Nicholas Aubrey that beat a diving Zach Renaud.
Rangers' dominance continued in the second stanza as they
peppered Renaud with another 11 shots. Against Gloucester's
onslaught, the Raiders could only muster three shots on
goal, one of which beat Rangers' goalie Derrick Champagne
to tie the game at 1-1.
deadlock lasted all of two minutes and 44 seconds before
Aubrey scored his second of the game on a pass from Zachay
Branchaud who set up the first goal as well.
Rangers very nearly made it 3-1 before the end of the
period when Nick Romano's backhand shot slid just past
the far post.
the game moved into the third period, the Raiders began
to play with a heightened sense of desperation resulting
in several quality scoring chances, but each one was steered
away by Champagne with assistance from his defencemen.
key point in the game came with 4:55 left in the third
periid when a Ranger player was sent off for hooking.
Down a man, Gloucester managed to limit the Raiders to
just one shot on goal.
final 1:39 of the third period was by far the most intense
as the Raiders pulled their goalie for an extra attacker
in the hope of scoring a goal and sending the game into
Rangers rose to the challenge, keeping the Raiders at
bay as the last few seconds ticked down to the final buzzer,
touching off a wild celebration both on and off ice.
Gloucester Rangers' Nicholas Aubrey stretches
out to knock the puck past Nepean Raiders
goalie Zach Renaud for his second goal of
the game. Fred Sherwin/Photo
the win, the Major Atom A team joined the Rangers' Major
Atom AA squad and the Novice A team as OEMHL playoff champions.
All three teams also won the League's regular season crown,
making them double banner holders.
Rangers, head coach Mike Branchaud, winnng the playoff
championship was the perfect ending to a great season.
was a great series. The kids are so happy, they've worked
so hard. I'm really proud of them. They've done well all
year. We have a great group of parents. We have a good
group of assistant cosches who work with the kids both
on offence and defence. So it's a good way to end it,"
two teams sweep one age group is also a rare occurence
since the best players in most organizations end up on
the 'AA' team leaving the 'A' team having to make do with
fact that the Rangers Major Atom A and AA teams won both
the regular and post season championships is a clear indication
of Gloucester's depth in the 2005 age group and bodes
well for the future.
are a lot of kids on this team who would probably be playing
AA if they lived outside of Gloucester", says Branchaud.
Rangers and the Raiders played each other 19 times this
season, with Gloucester winning 12 times, the biggest
of which was Thursday's series finale.
two goals in the final game were his seventh and eighth
of the playoffs, giving him a team-leading 16 points.
Atiqtalaaq Uuttuvak, or Q as he's called by his teammares,
scored a team-high 12 goals in the post season, while
Logan Graham added 10 of his own. The goaltending duties
were shared by Champagne and Olivier Roy-Lapierre.
roster: Derrick Champagne, Olivier Roy-Lapierre,
Nicholas Aubrey, Tomas Labonte, Julian Powell,
Zachary Branchaud, Logan Graham, Ryan Spenst,
Nico Romano, Atiqtalaaq Uuttuvak, Daniel Kyte,
Owen Dimmell, Eryc Laflamme, Adam Viau, Rhys
Burgess, Morgan Deslauriers, and George Carson.
Head coach Mike Branchaud. Aass't coaches
Reno Rushford, Jordan Burgess and Kevin Graham.
Manager Rachael Kyte. Trainer Rick Champagne.
10:30 p.m., April 1)
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