The Cumberland Jr. Grads Major Atom AA team gave themselves a boost in the battle for second place in the Hockey East Ontario standings on the weekend by downing the Gloucester Rangers 4-1 on home ice at the Navan Memorial Arena.
The Jr. Grads had a one point edge over the Rangers heading into the game with a game in hand. A loss would have catapaulted the Rangers past the Jr. Grads with only four games left in the regular season.
The game started out in the Rangers favour with Tristan Kitchen scoring with 1:19 left in the first period to give his team a 1-0 lead.
The score could have been more one-sided if not for the job done by the Jr. Grads in killing off 44 seconds while two men down and another 51 seconds with only one man in the penalty box.
The Jr. Grads responded in the 4:37 mark of the second period on a goal by Kai Stevens. Two and a half minutes later Kane Astra scored on a pass from Dax McKinnon to give the Jr. Grads the lead and they didn’t stop there.
McKinnon would score an insurance marker with 3:28 left in the second on a beautifully executed backhand shot that beat the Rangers’ goalie high to the glove side.
The Jr. Grads would kill off two more penalties in the second period to preserve their lead. McKinnon’s empty-net goal with just over a minute left in the game would provide the icing on the cake in a 4-1 win.
A 3-2 win over the Ottawa Valley Silver Seven on Sunday extended the Jr. Grads lead to five points over the Rangers with four games left in the regular season schedule.
In other Hockey East Ontario action involving local teams on the weekend the Minor Bantam AA Rangers beat the Ottawa Valley Silver Seven 1-0 to solidify their lead atop the standings. They have a six point lead over the Ottawa Sting with a game in hand and only four more games left to be played.
A win or a tie in any of their four remaining games would give the Rangers the regular season championship. Their next game is against the Upper Ottawa Valley Aces on Saturday, Jan. 25.
The Major Bantam AA Jr. Grads have won their last three games, including back-to-back wins over the Rideau St. Lawrence Kings and the Upper Ottawa Valley Aces on the weekend3 to keep pace with Nepean Raiders and the Eastern Ontario Cobras in the race for first place in their division.
The Jr. Grads have 39 points, but they still have six games left to play. The Raiders are two points back with three games left to play and the Cobras are four points back with five games left on their schedule.
The Minor Peewee AA Rangers had the weekend off after clinching the regular season championship with a 3-1 win over the Kanata Blazers last Thursday.
The win extended the Rangers’ lead to five points over the second place Eastern Ontario Cobras, but the Cobras only have two games remaining on their schedule.
The Major Peewee AA Rangers bid for a regular season championship suffered a major setback on Sunday when they were shutout 3-0 by the Seaway Valley Rapids.
A win would have kept them one point behind the Nepean Raiders with a game in hand. As it is, they’re now three points back with three games to go in the regular season. Their only hope for a championship banner is if the Raiders lose one of their two remaining games and they win out.
Their next game is against the Gloucester Rangers on Thursday, Jan. 24.
In Minor Midget AA action, the Rangers are still four points back of the Nepean Raiders and the Ottawa Sting, but they are running out of games. They have four games left to play, but the Sting have six games left to play and the Raiders have five games left to play.
The Rangers could help their cause if they beat the Raiders on Jan. 31, but they will need help from someone else to keep the Sting in check.
Finally, in the Major Midget AA division the Nepean Raiders are four points away from clinching the title with four games left to play. The only team that can catch them are the Ottawa Sting who have five games left to play.