Char-Lan Rebels ‘exceeded expectations,’ played Vikes tough
BY SEAN BRAY Sports Editor Liam Vipond, of the Char-Lan junior ‘B’ Rebels, summed up his team’s division semifinal series with the first-place Casselman Vikings best, when he said, “We exceeded expecations; that’s for sure.”
The Vikes were secure atop the leaderboard all season, while their playoff opponents from Char-Lan only clinched their post- season berth late in the schedule.
Statistically, Casselman was headand-shoulders above the Rebels; however, the boys didn’t let the numbers deter them, as they made a series of it from the get-go.
Char-Lan won twice in the hostile confines of the Casselman rink, taking game three 4-1 and game five 4-3.
On home ice in Williamstown on Feb. 24, with the Vikings leading the series two games to one, the Rebels iced a gritty effort, backstopped by a 34- save performance from Ryan Cooper.
Phil Veilleux’s third-period tally tied the contest at 2-2.
However, 5: 42 into overtime,
Casselman’s Ethan Wensink scored his second of the match to deal the home side a heartbreaking 3-2 loss.
Two days later, the series was back in Casselman, where the Rebels rallied for a come-from-behind 4-3 victory. The game-winner was notched by Quin MacDonell with under three minutes left in the second period.
Meanwhile, Cooper had another great night between the pipes, turning aside 40 of 43 shots.
Game six in Williamstown on Feb. 28 was another must-win situation for the Rebels.
After a scoreless opening frame, Casselman broke the ice late in the second, though Char-Lan’s Jake Mayette tied it up before the intermission.
The offence on both sides stepped up in the third, and while the Rebels stayed close, they were never able to grab the lead.
Mayette’s hat trick marker at the 17:42 mark had his team within one, until Wensink iced it for Casselman with a late empty-netter.
The other Char-Lan goal in this game was scored by David Poirier, while Jamie Lepine recorded three assists. Additional helpers went to Thomas Hargrave, Jesse Fontaine, Scott Hope, and Brian Landry.
Casselman advances to play Winchester in the division final series.
Defenceman Jesse Fontaine is the lone Rebel who is wrapping up his junior hockey years.
In recognition, the team posted this message to Twitter: “Congrats to our only graduating player this season @Fonzzy04 [Jesse Fontaine]on a great JR B career. We'll miss Ya ! #GoRebs”
MacDonell was the team’s leading playoff scorer with six points. Several players – Mayette, Brennan Markell, Hargrave, and Lepine – were tied with five points each.
‘ B’ GLENS
CHASE: A Casselman player tries to push Char-Lan’s Scott Hope off the puck, adjacent to the Vikings net. Check out more photos online at www.glengarrynews.ca/photos