The 2016-17 CCHL Playoffs kicked off on March 15th, and for the fourth year in a row, the Carleton Place Canadians are the clear favourites. With the Cornwall Colts and Ottawa Jr. Sens also playing terrific hockey, the Canadians could face their biggest challenge of the year—provided they get past Nepean Raiders in the first round.
Although nobody gave the Raiders much of a chance against the Canadians, Nepean managed to split the first pair of games thanks to a tremendous game-two performance from goaltender Marshall Frappier, who got the start after playing well in relief of Kyle Alaverdy in Game 1.
As they have been throughout the season, the Canadians were led offensively by Connor Merkley and Andrew Dodson. Defenceman Tim Theocharidis also came up big, with four points through two games. Kevin Groulx, who was often Nepean’s best player, scored the Game 2 winner for Nepean.
Colts Making it Quick
The Cornwall Colts are off to a quick start, and might have a long time off between series. With at least three games left to go in Carleton Place’s series, the Colts could win their best-of-seven against Smiths Falls today after winning their first three games in dramatic fashion.
Cornwall and Smiths Falls began their series with back-to-back games each going past regulation, with the second going to double overtime. Cornwall took both games by a score of 4-3. Despite a two-goal effort from Smiths Falls’ Cole Busschaert in Game 1, Sebastian Dirven was the hero, ending the game quickly at 1:15 into the overtime period.
In Game 2, it was William Searle with the two-goal effort, helping the Bears overcome a three-goal deficit. However, Cornwall’s Ethan Mulhearn responded at 7:59 of the second extra frame. The Colts went on to blow out the possibly-dejected Bears in Game 3, 6-0.
Jr. Sens Up 2-1
In a bizarre turn, the series between the Jr. Sens and the Brockville Braves saw its first two games play out almost identically to the Colts-Bears matchup. Both games ended with the same score of 2-1, and both ended in OT—the second in double. Despite this, the Braves managed to climb back into the series in game three, winning 3-0 on the back of a titanic 41-save effort from Henry Johnson.
Hawks and 73’s at One and One
Meanwhile, the Hawkesbury Hawks and Kemptville 73’s are deadlocked at one game apiece, both games high-scoring affairs. The Hawks have seen four-point contributions from David Jankowski (2G, 2A), Charles Levesque (1G, 3A) and Jonathan Cyr (4A).
The playoffs will resume today, with all eight teams competing in 7:30pm games. The winner of the playoffs will go on to compete in the Fred Page Cup, a tournament that collects the champions of the MJHL, CCHL and the LHJQ. This year, the tournament will be hosted in Terrebonne, Quebec. The winner of that tournament will move on to the national championships, the RBC Cup in Cobourg. It will be the first time the tournament has been in Ontario since Cornwall hosted it in 2008.
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