Volume 12 Week 5

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Minor Hockey
Rangers add Novice A playoff banner to season haul
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The Gloucester Rangers Minor Hockey Association has added another banner to its growing collection this season.

Two days after the Rangers’ Major Atom AA squad defeated the Cumberland Jr. Grads to win the OEMHL playoff championship, the organization’s Novice A team joined them as league champions with a 3-2 win over the Kanata Blazers to complete one of the most im-pressive comebacks of the playoff season.

The Gloucester Rangers' Lucas Murphy scores the first of two goals against the Kanata Blazers on Tuesday. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The Novice A Rangers were trailing the Blazers 6-2 in the first to seven points series and were down 3-1 after two periods in Game 5 when they scored three unanswered goals in the third to keep their championship hopes alive. Even then, they needed a 2-1 win last Thursday to force a seventh and deciding game. A tie in either Game 5, or Game 6, would have given the Blazers the title.

In Tuesday’s decider, it was the Blazers who drew first blood when Peter Legostaev scored on an unassisted effort just 18 seconds into the game.

Despite falling behind early, the Rangers stuck to their game plan and gradually gained momentum ultimately leading to Dylan Turcotte’s equalizer at midway through the opening period.

A little over a minute later, Lukas Murphy banged home a rebound offered up by Kanata goalie Carson Pike on shot from Jacob Clouthier to give the Rangers the lead.

The Blazers only managed to get one shot on goal in the second period, but it was taken by Legostaev who took off from his own blueline and deked around two Gloucester defenceman before scoring high top shelf to deadlock the score at 2-2.

The goal came just 43 seconds into a period in which Kanata was outshot 9-1 despite having a man advantage not once, but twice.

The game remained tight through the early part of the third period until Legostaev collided with Murphy in the corner, leaving the Rangers’ forward facedown on the ice.

After Murphy recovered from the hit and got back on his feet, Legostaev was assessed a five minute major for head contact and a game misconduct.

The Blazers’ leading scorer was sent off the ice with 1:16 still left in an earlier penalty to Lucas Lin.

With the outcome of the game hanging in the balance, the Blazers tenaciously killed off the two-man advantage and managed to eat into 1:25 of the remaining 3:44 of Legostaev’s major when Murphy got his revenge on the earlier head shot by scoring the eventual game winner with 5:36 left in the period.

The Blazers killed off the remaining 2:19 in the major penalty and we’re in great shape to tie the score when the Rangers picked up a hooking penalty with 3:47 left in the game.

Unfortunately, without their top scorer in the game, the Blazers were unable to generate a decent scoring chance during the power play and time, or lack of it, became their worst enemy.

After killing off the hooking penalty, the Rangers kept the Blazers at bay for the final minute and four seconds after they had pulled their goalie 8n favour of an extra attacker.
Murphy’s two goals were his third and fourth of the playoffs, while Turcotte’s initial go ahead goal was his team-leading ninth of the playoffs. By comparison, Legostaev scored 23 times before he was ejected from Tuesday’s game, with 10 of those goals coming in the final series.

After the Novice team’s big win, Rangers’ head coach Mike Murphy lauded his players for battling back from the 3-1 deficit in Game 3 and never taking their eyes off the prize.
“The kids worked really hard and they earned this,” Murphy. “They’re a great group and it’s been a privilege to coach them."

No fewer than seven Rangers teams made it to the OEMHL finals, earning at least a finalist banner in the process. The Major Atom AA and Novice A teams have both added a playoff championship banner to the regular season flag the already had in their possession.

The only team still in the hunt for a playoff crown is the Rangers Major Atom A squad which will play a seventh and deciding game against the Nepean Raiders on Thursday.

Team roster: Noah Petrie, Luke Suys, Hogan Blais, Daniel Laflamme, Antonino Imerti, Kieren Dervin, Brandon Bauder, Ryan Ross, Tristan Webb, Rowan Cantrell, Dylan Turcotte, Logan Power, Quinn Beauchesne, Tyler Meireles, Lukas Murphy, Garrett Maronese and Jacob Cloutier. Head Coach Mike Murphy. Ass't Coach Marc Blais, Mike Beauchesne, and Damien Laflamme. Manager Mike Webb. Trainer Geoff Dervin. Fred Sherwin/Photo

(Posted 12:30 p.m., March 30)

 

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