The CPJHL playoffs got underway over the weekend, with the first round culminating on Sunday evening for all teams. The #1 ranked Muskoka Wild, who took the top seed courtesy of finishing first in the league-wide season standings, found themselves up against the #8 Seaforth Generals in a home-and-home, aggregate goal series. The Wild strung together two consecutive victories on Friday and Sunday to advance to the second round with their 14-5 aggregate series win.
Hosting the first-leg of the series at home in Port Carling on Friday night, the Wild wasted little time taking control of the series, skating to a comfortable 8-0 victory. Brady Bannon and Devin Gates led the way offensively for the Wild, both finishing the contest with 5 points. Tye Sterne, Justin Corbiere and Taylor Lee all contributed multi-point efforts in the win, while Jamie Gee got the start in goal, and made 22 saves for the shutout.
Taking a large lead to Seaforth on Sunday evening, the Wild simply needed to keep their composure and play a smart 60 minutes of hockey to advance to the second round. In what would be their final game of the season, the Generals put up a much stronger fight than a couple nights previous, holding a two-goal lead through the midway mark of the third period before the Wild scored three in rapid succession to emerge with the 6-5 victory. Corbiere led the charge for the Wild with 4 points, while Lee and Nathan Delarosbil each found the scoresheet on four occasions. Kyle Droge made 30 saves for the win.
“While we expected to advance, we stuck to our brand of hockey and ensured the series was never really in doubt,” said General Manager and Coach Scott Baker following Sunday night’s victory. “With all four top seeds advancing, we are certainly entering our toughest stretch of games. Need to keep the energy up, which can be tough at the end of a long season. A one-game round robin format doesn’t leave much in the way of margin for error, but we do expect to be one of the two teams advancing to the Championship next Sunday.”
Other first-round series saw (all scores represent aggregate two-game results): #2 Almonte Sharpshooters defeat #7 Norwood Nemesis 12-2; #3 Essa Stallions emerge with the 12-3 victory over #6 O-town Rebels; and #4 Grey Highland Hawks survive a brief scare from #5 Glengarry Highlanders, taking the series 13-9.
The CPJHL Super 4 sees Muskoka, Almonte, Essa and Grey Highland compete in a round robin format, with games to be scheduled for this week. Once confirmed, the complete game schedule will be shared on the CPJHL website and Muskoka Wild social channels. The top two teams will then advance to the Championship Game on Sunday, March 19.
Complete playoff schedule for the Canadian Premier Junior Hockey League can be found at www.cpjhl.com/.
Photo courtesy of Dorothy Duck.
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