Char-Lan Rebels up­set Glens, ad­vance in play­offs

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page -

BY SEAN BRAY Sports Ed­i­tor The Char-Lan ju­nior ‘B’ Rebels hockey team ad­vanced to the CCHL2 Mar­tin Di­vi­sion semi­fi­nals, to tan­gle with the league’s top-ranked club, the Ot­tawa Jr. Cana­di­ans, fol­low­ing an up­set vic­tory in the best-of-three wild­card se­ries over the ri­val Alexan­dria Glens.

The Cana­di­ans lost just five times in 44 reg­u­lar-sea­son games, amass­ing 79 points.

Char-Lan fin­ished the cam­paign at the .500 mark, with 44 points.

The teams met four times, with Ot­tawa sweep­ing the sea­son se­ries and outscor­ing the Rebels 21-6. Two of the losses were lop­sided, while the oth­ers were close, at 4-3 and 2-0.

Their semi­fi­nal se­ries is a best-of-seven af­fair, sched­uled to be­gin last night, March 5, on the road in Ot­tawa. Char-Lan gets to host game two on Thurs­day, March 7, at 8 p.m. For the full sched­ule, see the in­set box. Cana­di­ans home games are played at the Earl Arm­strong Arena ( 2020 Ogilvie Rd, Glouces­ter).

Wild­card wrap-up

In terms of their re­spec­tive fin­ishes in the reg­u­lar-sea­son stand­ings, the Alexan­dria Glens should have had the ad­van­tage head­ing into the CCHL2 wild­card play­offs.

The Glens fin­ished six points higher than the Rebels and were 29 goals bet­ter in goals for/against dif­fer­en­tial.

Alexan­dria’s ap­par­ent ad­van­tages, though, in­clud­ing two of the three games on home ice, seemed to mat­ter lit­tle when the ac­tion hit the ice, as Char-Lan won both games at the Glen­garry Sports Palace, by way of shutout.

Rebels goal­tender Grant Craig was a fortress in the first and third matches, stop­ping a com­bined 78 shots. In his lone loss, game two in Wil­liamstown, he turned aside 24 of 28 pucks sent his way.

The wild­card se­ries opener on Feb. 26 was a thrilling net­min­der bat­tle, as Craig and Rousseau kept snipers at bay through two pe­ri­ods.

The Glens dom­i­nated the of­fence over that stretch, out­shoot­ing the Rebels 29-13.

Penal­ties, a buga­boo for the Alexan­dria boys all sea­son, reared their ugly head in the third frame, of which the Glens played nearly half short-handed.

As a re­sult, Char-Lan con­trolled much of the of­fen­sive play this pe­riod, and with their fourth power-play op­por­tu­nity of the game, the Rebs got one past Rousseau, as Bren­nan Markell scored what would stand as the game’s only goal.

Alexan­dria na­tive Mathieu Sabourin, who plays for Char-Lan, wired the puck in from the blue line off the end boards, where Markell col­lected it, wrist­ing past the out­stretched arms of Rousseau.

The Glens man­aged just five shots on goal in the pe­riod, un­able to muster the fire in their bel­lies they had through 40 min­utes.

Game two, in Wil­liamstown two nights later, saw more goal scor­ing, as the Rebels drew even in the se­ries with a 4-3 over­time vic­tory.

Craig’s shut-out streak ended at 72 min­utes, when Alexan­dria Glen To­bias Com­man­daOd­jick scored his team’s first of the se­ries.

At the the time, the Glens were play­ing des­per­a­tion hockey, trail­ing the game 2-0, as Char-Lan’s Liam Mac­Don­ald and Markell had both scored ear­lier.

Penal­ties in this one proved key, with CharLan cap­i­tal­iz­ing twice on the man ad­van­tage, in six op­por­tu­ni­ties, while the Glens nabbed the game-win­ner on an OT power play.

Alexan­dria drew even and then took the lead in the sec­ond pe­riod, with the vis­i­tors dom­i­nat­ing, as Mav­er­ick Bax­trom and Reggy St-Surin scored.

Sabourin notched the equal­izer for CharLan at the mid­point of the third, even­tu­ally forc­ing the game into an ex­tra ses­sion, where, 5:45 in, Cedryk Miron found a loose puck and flipped it past an un­sus­pect­ing Craig.

Dy­lan Stacey had sent the ini­tial shot on net, with the puck dis­ap­pear­ing in a crowd of bod­ies, be­fore Miron’s hero­ics.

The Glens piled onto the ice to cel­e­brate the win that forced the de­cid­ing third game back in Alexan­dria on March 1.

In front of nearly 600 fans, Craig put on an­other goal­tend­ing clinic, stymieing the Glens in what was a high-tempo and, at times, phys­i­cal con­test.

A nasty un­pe­nal­ized hit be­hind the CharLan net dur­ing the sec­ond stanza left Com­manda-Od­jick and Glens trainer Jamie Lav­i­gne search­ing for some miss­ing chi­clets. The player skated off the ice un­der his own steam, re­turn­ing for the third frame with a new fa­cial cage af­fixed to his hel­met.

Frus­tra­tions con­tin­ued for the Alexan­dria side too, as de­spite fir­ing 19 shots at Craig in the pe­riod, they couldn’t get any­thing past him.

Mean­while, the Rebels played a pa­tient game. Char-Lan had just four shots on goal in the first frame, in­creas­ing that to 11 in the sec­ond, when, with 2:49 left, the Rebels got con­trol from an of­fen­sive zone face­off, and Sam Fer­land cap­i­tal­ized, Markell and Isaac Tes­tani earn­ing the as­sists.

A two-on-one break 4:42 into the third saw Fer­land feed Tes­tani to dou­ble the lead. Markell also picked up a helper.

The Alexan­dria side re­sponded with some of­fen­sive pres­sure on a mid-pe­riod power play, but failed to score.

With 1:40 left in reg­u­la­tion, the Glens were able to pull their goalie in favour of an ex­tra at­tacker, and once again they had some pres­sure, un­til the puck squirted out of the zone, cor­ralled by Markell who picked his spot for the empty-net­ter, ic­ing the 3-0 vic­tory.

Craig’s se­ries record gave him a 1.29 goals against av­er­age and a 0.962 save per­cent­age, while Rousseau chalked up a 1.96 GAA and a 0.921 save %.

NEXT DEAD­LINE: Mon­day, March 11, noon

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

PLAY­OFF CHAMPS: Char-Lan District High School’s boys hockey team suc­cess­fully de­fended its SD&G ti­tle. Stand­ing in back, from left, are Dar­rell McDonell, Sea­mus O’Con­nell, Cole MacCrim­mon, Thomas Pasco, Nat Faubert, Kurt Alexan­der, Roan MacLen­nan, Dono­van Fran­cis, An­drew Dir­ven, Lach­lan McDonell, An­drew Dixon, and Sean O’Far­rell. Kneel­ing are Danny Flaro, Con­nor Mac­don­ald, Ai­den Ler­oux, and Jack MacLach­lan, and in front is Hunter Mader. Ab­sent from photo: Ethan Mac­Don­ald

County ri­vals bat­tle in the CCHL2 wild­card play­off se­ries.

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