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(Posted: 10 p.m., March 27)
Minor Peewee 'A' Rangers add post season title to their list of accomplishments
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The Minor Peewee 'A' Gloucester Rangers left no doubt they were the class of their division this season, sweeping all seven of their playoff games to add the OEMHL playoff banner to the league championship they already won for finishing the regular season in first place.

The top-seeded Rangers blew past the fourth seed Nepean Raiders in the first to five point semi-final series, with wins of 2-0, 5-1 and 6-2. They then faced the third seed Kanata Blazers, and while the games were a lot closer the result was the same. The Rangers put together wins of 4-3, 4-2, 3-1 and 3-0 to sweep the first to seven point series.

Simon Labelle led the way on the score sheet for the Rangers with six goals and 10 assists, while his twin brother Vincent had nine points with five goals and four assists.

No fewer than 10 players scored at least one goal during the playoff run in a demonstration of the type of balanced scoring that helped them amass a regular season record of 23-4-3.

Head coach Kevin Graham credited the team's success to individual skill, a tremendous work ethic and a level of hickey intelligence that belied their years and their status as a Tier 2 'A' level team.

"To give you an example of what this group was capable of, we taught our defencemen to regroup in their own end and the neutral zone which is very rare at this level. It was one of the reasons why we were so successful. Puck control was a very big part of our game," said Graham.

The team's overall record for the season, including tournaments, was 57-7-4. Besides winning the OEMHL league and playoff banners, the Rangers also won three tournaments including the prestigious Bell Capital Cup.

"Our motto coming into the season was hard work pays off and if you work hard good things going to happen," said Graham. "Our other phrase was 'Never give up'. Never give up on your team, never give up on yourselves and never give up on the game."

For two-thirds of the players on the team this is the second year in a row that they managed to win both the regular season and playoff banners. Last year they lost just three games on their way to the Major Atom A championship.

Graham still can't believe his good fortune in being able to coach such a talented group of kids for the past two years.

"I knew the talent was there. What I didn't know was their work ethic and their willingness to do whatever it took to be successful. That way it's unfolded with back-to-back championships has been unbelievable."

While Graham is disappointed the season is over, he's already looking forward to next season and the challenge of teaching a new group of young players to be the best they can be.

Team roster: Simon Labelle, Vincent Labelle, Jarrett Ladouceur, Evan Beaudoin, Luka Partington, Ryan Buckley, Tyler Vezina, Tyler Boyd, Owen Genier, Maxime Lacroix, Justin Graham, Daniel Sabourin, Jaden Tracey, Cooper Grochot, Mathieu Beauchemin, Kurtis Ikkers, Jonathan Lemaire. Head coach Kevin Graham, Ass't Coach Jean Genier, Ass't Coach Chris Sabourin, Ass't Coach Mike Vezina, Manager Steve Lacroix, Trainer John Grochot and Ass't Trainer Lana Ikkers.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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