Junior ‘B’ hockey playoffs open for Glens, Rebels this week
BY SEAN BRAY Sports Editor Forty games are in the books for the county’s junior ‘B’ hockey teams, the CharLan Rebels and the Alexandria Glens, and now the real work begins, as the EOJHL playoff division semifinal series begin.
Alexandria secured its post-season berth several weeks ago and clinched home-ice advantage too, with the Glens booked to take on the Winchester Hawks.
Head-to-head, the squads were rather even this year, both scoring three wins. Alexandria’s three losses were in regulation time, while one of the three for Winchester came in overtime. The most recent meeting, on Feb. 13 in Winchester, saw the Hawks prevail 4-2.
Overall through the winter, the Glens scored fewer goals than the Hawks (179 to 192) against all league opponents, and allowed more ( 171 to 164). As well, Alexandria took significantly more penalties, amassing 1,037 minutes in the sin bin, compared to 762 for Winchester.
The latter stat should be a concern for the Glens, who, in their final game of the regular season last Saturday night versus the Casselman Vikings, became unglued in the second period, wearing a steady path to the penalty box. Goaltender Nick Maheux was tossed from the contest with a gross misconduct penalty, presumably called when the netminder hurled his stick across the ice as he was being escorted off the playing surface by a linesman.
In the aforementioned Feb. 13 game in Winchester, the Glens were sanctioned with 48 PIM, handing the Hawks seven power plays, of which they converted two.
Even head coach Stephan Nadeau drew the ire of the referee, as the bench boss was tossed at the end of the second period for “harrassment of an official.” As a result, he was suspended for the Casselman contest and instead watched from the stands.
In Saturday’s action, Alexandria took 56 PIM and gave the Vikes seven power-play opportunities, including an extended stretch of five-on-three play.
“Is it Wednesday yet?! #GlensNation #PlayoffMode”
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Glens went winless on the weekend.
The boys will be looking to turn it around starting tonight, Feb. 18, on home ice.
Char-Lan the underdog?
The Char-Lan Rebels, meanwhile, may have some new confidence going into the playoffs against top dog Casselman.
Last Thursday in Casselman, the Rebs scored a 4-1 victory. It was the first time that Char-Lan had beaten the first-place Vikings this season. The previous five meetings had been won by Casselman, with a margin of three goals or better.
It’s worth noting that overall on the season, the Vikings were one of the mostpenalized teams in the division, racking up 1,065 minutes of infractions, compared to 891 for Char-Lan.
Casselman scored the most goals in the division (233) and allowed the fewest against (105). Contrast those numbers with 171 and 176 respectively for the Rebels.
The Feb. 12 game in Casselman was a spirited affair, featuring a fight between Juan Diego Hernandez and Kyle Millett, who drew an instigator penalty. In all, 78 minutes of infractions was called in the game.
Brennan Markell scored a hat trick, with the other Char-Lan tally netted by Matt Gregoire. Thomas Hargrave had two assists.
On Saturday night to close out the regular season, the Rebels battled hard against the Winchester Hawks, but in the end fell 9-7. The boys had an early lead on a Jake Mayette tally, but from the 5:53 point onwards were tied or trailed. Other CharLan markers came from Hargrave (2 goals, 2 assists), Scott Hope (2), Gregoire, and Markell.
Head coach Eric Fontaine described the match as “quite the game,” where “last shot wins.”
Looking ahead to the Casselman playoff series, which begins on the road tomorrow (Feb. 19) night, Fontaine says, “We feel con- fident. We know we can beat them [the Vikings] now. No one is giving us a chance, but the 20 guys in that room believe we can win, and that’s all that matters. Obviously it will be a tough challenge, as they are a great team. We just need to play good team defence and capitalize on our chances. We also need to keep [Casselman’s] chances to a minimum.”
The Vikings finished the season with 70 points, while Char-Lan ended with 39.
CHARGE: Glens forward Gabriel Cuillerier drives out of the defensive zone, chased down by a Casselman Viking in Feb. 14 junior ‘B’ hockey action from Alexandria. For more photos, see our online gallery at www.sportsintheglens.ca