Ex-Bulls clash in East final
Grimes and Boyd on opposite sides with Petes, Fish
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.
Former Belleville Bulls player and coach, James Boyd, now GM of the Mississauga Steelheads.
Former Belleville Bulls player and coach, Jake Grimes, now an assistant coach with the Peterborough Petes.