Ex-Bulls clash in East fi­nal

Grimes and Boyd on op­po­site sides with Petes, Fish

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - SPORTS - PAUL SVO­BODA

Jake Grimes is 1-and-0 ver­sus fel­low former Belleville Bulls coaches in the 2017 OHL playoffs. And he’d like to go 2-for-2. In the Eastern Con­fer­ence semi­fi­nals, Grimes and the Petes swept Kingston where former Bulls as­sis­tant Ja­son Supryka serves in the same ca­pac­ity for the Fronts. Now, Petes are in the con­fer­ence fi­nal against the Mis­sis­sauga Steel­heads — fea­tur­ing an­other former Bull, James Boyd, as GM.

Prior to Game 1 Thurs­day night in Peter­bor­ough, Grimes said he and Boyd hadn’t made a friendly wa­ger on the se­ries. Yet.

“No, we haven’t chat­ted in a bit be­cause we’ve been so busy lately,” said Grimes. “But who knows? If I see him in the press room, he might have one for me.”

Boyd said there’s no bet right now. But later?

“We’ll prob­a­bly bump into each other over the sum­mer and com­pare notes,” said Boyd. “There might be a beer in­volved.”

The Petes were 8-and-0 in their two pre­vi­ous play­off rounds and Mis­sis­sauga was 6-and-0 on the road so some­thing ’s got to give in the con­fer­ence fi­nal.

“It’s been in­credi­ble,” said Grimes, re­fer­ring to Peter­bor­ough’s un­beaten post-sea­son streak. “I told the guys the other day that we av­er­age 12 games a month dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son and here it is April 20 and we’d played eight.”

Boyd said his play­ers have been ef­fec­tive in en­emy build­ings through­out the sea­son.

“That’s one of the funny quirks of this team,” he said. “We’ve been bet­ter on the road all year. The guys are com­fort­able away from home. The mar­gin of er­ror is re­ally thin now, but our guys know it.”

Both teams were solid down the stretch.

“Mis­sis­sauga is a star-stud­ded group,” said Grimes. “They’ve got guys who’re go­ing to be ex­tremely high NHL draft picks. They’ve done well with their Euro­pean picks too. They’re a strong, strong group.

“You need to be real ac­count­able against them.”

Along with the out­stand­ing play of goal­tender Dy­lan Wells, the Petes have re­lied on re­mark­ably bal­anced scor­ing to reach the con­fer­ence fi­nal.

“Jody (Petes head coach Jody Hull) aligns his for­ward lines that way and as a guy who coaches de­fence, like me, I know that’s dif­fi­cult to deal with,” said Grimes. “It makes us deeper.”

As for the Trout, Boyd said they’re ca­pa­ble of scor­ing in bunches. “We can be ex­plo­sive,” he said. Grimes makes his fifth trip to the con­fer­ence fi­nal as an as­sis­tant coach, the pre­vi­ous four com­ing in Belleville (2007-09 and 2013).

“We need to be fresh and start strong,” said Grimes. “I think we will.”

Boyd too said his troops were ea­ger to play again af­ter dis­pos­ing of the Oshawa Gen­er­als in five games in the semi-fi­nal round.

“We’ve had some bumps on the road with in­juries and sus­pen­sions but we’re healthy now,” he said. “The guys are chomp­ing at the bit.”

• High on Devils

Grim es said the Pet es were pleased to nab a pair of Quinte Red Devils grad­u­ates at the re­cent OHL draft — de­fence­man Cameron Supryka and for­ward Daniel Panetta.

“I’ve watched those guys grow­ing up,” said Grimes. “And it re­ally speaks to the depth and strength of that QRD (mi­nor midget) team coached by Steve Ban­croft that 10 of their kids went in the draft.”

Grimes said Petes had nar­rowed down their wish list to a pair of de­fence­men — in­clud­ing Supryka — as their 60th over­all se­lec­tion ap­proached. When he was avail­able, Petes pounced.

“Cameron was the guy we wanted,” said Grimes. “He has an in­credi­ble skill set and can bring the puck out of the zone. He was on our radar.”

Grimes likes Panetta’s com­pet­i­tive na­ture.

“He goes ev­ery­where with a rep­u­ta­tion,” said Grimes. “He is what he is. Great skills, speed, lead­er­ship, char­ac­ter. Our staff will en­joy work­ing with him.”

• NEED TO KNOW: The Steel­heads ros­ter in­cludes a trio of QRD grad­u­ates — for­wards Shaw Boomhower of Belleville, Scoley Dow of Wall­bridge and Ai­dan McFar­land of Na­pa­nee.

• Wild, wild West

The Erie Ot­ters and Owen Sound At­tack will open the Western Con­fer­ence fi­nal tonight in Penn­syl­va­nia.

Erie makes its fourth straight trip to the con­fer­ence fi­nal af­ter knock­ing off the de­fend­ing Me­mo­rial Cup cham­pion Lon­don Knights in a thrilling semi-fi­nal se­ries that went the dis­tance. Erie won Game 7 in O.T.

The At­tack over­came a 2-0 deficit in their semi-fi­nal af­fair with the Soo Grey­hounds, bat­tling back to clinch the se­ries in six games.

• Com­mis­sion­ers Cup

Tren­ton na­tive Matt Kaludis fin­ished his first sea­son of pro hockey with the top save per­cent­age (.929) in the Fed­eral Hockey League playoffs.

Kaludis back­stopped the Ber­lin (NH) River Driv­ers into the be­stof-five FHL Com­mis­sion­ers Cup fi­nal where they dropped a 4-1 de­ci­sion to the host Danville (IL) Dash­ers in the fifth and de­cid­ing game Wed­nes­day night. Kaludis faced 27 shots in his sev­enth post­sea­son con­test.

In the reg­u­lar sea­son, Kaludis led all FHL goal­tenders with 20 wins in 33 ap­pear­ances.

• Buck­land Cup

The Ge­orge­town Raiders led the Tren­ton Golden Hawks 2-1 in the best-of-seven OJHL Buck­land Cup fi­nal head­ing into Game 4 Thurs­day night at Com­mu­nity Gar­dens. Re­sults were un­avail­able at press time. ON DECK: Game 5 Sat­ur­day at Ge­orge­town, 7:30 p.m.

AARON BELL/OHL IMAGES

Former Belleville Bulls player and coach, James Boyd, now GM of the Mis­sis­sauga Steel­heads.

PETER­BOR­OUGH EX­AM­INER FILE PHOTO

Former Belleville Bulls player and coach, Jake Grimes, now an as­sis­tant coach with the Peter­bor­ough Petes.

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