TIGNISH -- Brett Gaudet’s third-period powerplay goal from Riley Shea Tuesday night broke a 1-1 tie and gave the Tignish Perry’s Construction Aces the margin they needed to finish off the South Side MacDonald’s Excavation/EF MacPhee Lynx. They won the best of seven Island championship series four games to one. All of the Aces’ wins were by a single goal and two of them were decided in overtime.
The Tignish Perry’s Construction Aces won their sixth Island Junior C Hockey League championship in seven years Tuesday night, taking their best-of-seven series against the regular season champions, the South Side MacDonald’s Excavation/EF MacPhee Lynx in five teams. The Aces will travel to Liverpool, NS, March 26 to 30 to represent P.E.I. at the Maritime-Hockey North Junior C championship tournament. Members of the Island championship team are, front row from left, Brian Hogan, coach; Earl Shea, trainer; Brett Gaudet, Riley Shea, Chase Dyment, Kirk Ramsay, Jacob LeClair, Alex Brennan, Mike O’Halloran, coach; back row, Lucas Gaudet, Ryley Doyle, Troy Gallant, Charlie Bernard, Mason Perry, Tyler Howard, Dylan Rayner, Andrew Doucette, Karter Hackett, Parker Arsenault, Tyson Carragher, Dylan Ellis and, missing, Slade Handrahan, Traven Gaudet, Jake Hackett, Tyler Richard and Shelby LeClair.
The Aces finished the regular season in third place, 14 points behind the first place Lynx, before stringing together 10 wins in 13 playoff games (they won both of their best-of-five quarter-final and semi-final series in four games).
The fast-paced Lynx displayed good puck movement throughout the finals and proved to be the Aces’ biggest challenge in the play-offs. Their style of play, suggested Aces manager Darlene Hackett, helped prepare the Aces for the type of competition they are likely to face during the Maritime-Hockey North Junior C championship tournament March 26 to 30 in Liverpool, NS.
The Aces were coached by Mike O’Halloran and assistant coach Brian Hogan. Earl Shea was their trainer.
Hogan said the Aces benefitted throughout the playoffs from players returning home from jobs out west.
“We’re still missing a few key players but we managed to get her done without them,” Hogan commented.
Gaudet, the scorer of the series-winning goal, also did some time on job sites out west, but made it back in time for the playoffs.
“I don’t know how far we would have gotten without him. He’s a big part of this team,” Hogan acknowledged.
Gaudet and the player who set him up for the winning goal, Riley Shea, tied for the most points in the play-offs, 23. Gaudet had 16 playoff goals and seven assists and Shea had nine goals and 14 assists. Team captain Kirk Ramsay finished third in playoff points with three goals and 14 assists.
Another key component to the Aces win, Hogan acknowledged, was the goaltending of Jake Hackett and Chase Dyment. With Hackett gone back to work out west Dyment carried the load in the finals.
“He played excellent. He made some key saves all the way through the play-offs,” said Hogan, noting that was critical in their one-goal wins. “He made some big-time stops.”
While Ramsay racked up some big time points in the play-offs, Hogan said it was their captain’s physical presence that kept opposing players on their toes.
Hogan said with players coming and going throughout the year due to work commitments and sometimes having to rely on affiliate players to fill in the gaps, it was hard at times during the regular season to get any real flow going. That all changed come playoff time as more players were available and the Aces were able to ramp up their style of play and win their third consecutive Island title. “Once we get a few of them back we seem to come together and play more as a team then. You’ve got a little bit more to work with,” he said.
Of course, once players return that can create a situation where some regular players get less ice time, Hogan acknowledged, but he felt everyone signed onto the mission of winning another Island championship. “After the game the guys who did sit, they were celebrated as much as the guys who didn’t. It’s all worth it in the end,” he said.
“The key is we definitely play harder (in the playoffs) and we play a little bit more physical than maybe the opposition would like us to,” the assistant coach volunteered.