Regals win second ch’ship in a week and a half

Eric McCarthy
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ALBERTON -- The Atlantic Minor Midget AAA championship tournaments gold medal game bore a couple of similarities to the deciding game of the P.E.I. Midget AAA championship series 11 days earlier: Same two teams, same final score.

The Island champions and hosts of the Atlantic tournament, the Western Regals, downed the Mid-Isle Matrix 4-2 before a packed house at the Jacques Cartier Arena here Sunday afternoon.

Brendan Smith scored the insurance goal into the empty net with 28 seconds remaining in the third period to relieve the pressure that had been building.

It was his first goal of the tournament and admittedly, an easy one, but, it felt pretty good, though, Smith said. It tool a lot of pressure off. We were all nervous, but after that, we knew we had it.

The Regals had celebrated a fourth goal three minutes prior to Smith sealing the deal, but that goal was subsequently ruled off with the referees determining it was gloved into the Matrix net.

With the pressure off, emotions boiled over with one second remaining in the game. The Matrix took exception with a spirited scramble in their goal crease and two fights ensued. Emotions were still high during the post-game handshake and another fighting major was issued to each team. Over the entire game, the Matrix took nine minors, three fighting majors and five 10-minute misconducts. The Regals were assessed four minors a double minor three fighting majors and six 10-minute misconducts.

Regals coach Brett Corcoran played down the finish, preferring to focus on the celebration taking place on the ice around him. Its just emotions boiled over after playing each other 13 times.

Smith admitted he had confidence in the team heading into the Atlantic tournament.

I knew if we played good wed win, he said. We play good as a team.

Jason Gallant scored twice for the Regals, including the game-winner. That was his biggest goal by far, he said. Its a good feeling, Gallant said of the victory. Its one of the best feelings Ive ever had in my life and it will probably be one of the best feelings Ill ever have. Gallant was named the Regals player of the game. The Matrix player of the game award went to Liam OConnor whose first period goal had given his team a 1-0 lead.

Jake Arsenault scored with 1:38 remaining in the first period for the Regals to tie the game at 1-1. Earning assists in the Regals win were Brandon Williams (2), Brendan Shea (2), Curklan Fraser, Thomas Fraser and Brett Aylward.

It’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in my life and it will probably be one of the best feelings I’ll ever have. Regals' forward Jason Gallant on scoring the winning goal of the Atlantic Midget AAA chamionship tournament's gold medal game

Spencer Francis scored the Matrix second goal midway through the second period Earning assists for the Matrix were Matt Craig, Jacob Stewart and James Murphy.

Goaltenders for the championship game were Avery Arsenault for the Regals and for the Matrix Sean MacPhee.

Team Nova Scotia, the Bedford Blues, was awarded the tournament bronze medals following a 6-1 win over Team Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John's Marshalls, in a game that was significantly closer than the score would suggest. The Blues led 4-0 after the first period and were up 5-1 heading into the third.

“We stuck with our game plan,”  Blues captain Connor Sheehan said of their success in limiting penalties. “Throughout the whole tournament the boys ran into penalty trouble, but we did a good job to stay composed this game," he said.

Aaron Alexander’s goal at 9:54 of the opening period stood up as the game-winner but it was defenceman Austin Page who became the sentimental hero of the Nova Scotia fans when he made it 6-1 midway through the final period on a two-man powerplay. “We had a bit of fun at the end,” acknowledged Sheehan. “We changed some guys up. We had Austin Page there who hadn’t scored a goal all year. We put him up front and he got a goal.”

“So we had a bit of fun at the end and just enjoyed our last minutes together,” Sheehan commented.

Also scoring for the Blues were Shannon LeDrew (2), Reid Wheeler and Brandon Rose. A second period goal by the Marshalls Luke Tremblett spoiled Brendan Cregan’s shut-out bid.

The start of the five-team tournament on Thursday was delayed due to the lingering effects of last Wednesday's blizzard. Many members of the Nova Scotia team and the New Brunswick team, the Saint John Warriors, found themselves stranded in New Brunswick for part of the day on Thursday waiting for the winds to subside so that the Confederation Bridge could reopen to vehicle traffic. The tournament schedule had to be revised but by Saturday, everything was back on track.

Standings at the end of round robin had the Regals in first place with four wins and eight points, the Matrix in second with three wins and six points, followed by the Marshalls with three points from a win, two losses and a tie, the Blues with two points from a pair of ties and the Saint John Warriors earning one point for a tie.

At the tournament awards banquet Saturday night at the Rodd Mill River Resort, TJ Shea of the Regals was named tournament MVP and his team mate, Brandon Williams was named top defenceman. Cody Miller of the Matrix received the top scorer award and his goaltender, Sean MacPhee was named top goaltender. The only award that didn't go to the Island teams was the top forward award. That went to the Marshalls’ Grant Nolan.

Organizations: Marshalls, Rodd Mill River Resort

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, St. John's

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  • Give me a break
    April 02, 2014 - 12:27

    @ Disgusted...Seriously are you really going to try to blame a loss on poor officiating. Apparently you must have been watching a completely different hockey game than the one I had been watching. I've watched these two teams play each other in each of the past 7 meetings they've had versus one another form a completely unbiased standpoint just as a fan who loves watching the game of hockey and I think the officiating was fantastic everytime these two teams met. Yes I will agree there was plenty of yelling from the stands, but this happened at both Alberton and in Cornwall when watching the teams play there. It's sad watching and listening ot fans abuse the officials who are there doing their best to enforce the rules of the game, especially when listening to the fans yell at the officials, most fans haven't got a clue as to what the real rules to the game are. Every parents should be forced to read a rulebook and take the same test on-ice officials take when registering their children to play hockey, maybe then it might give parents a better understanding of what it takes to officiate the game of hockey and parents would stop abusing the poor officials. The tournament in Alberton was a great hockey tournament and judging by what I've seen this year, the better team won. Nothing against the Matrix, they have a great team, but they were beat by an even better hockey team in the Regals, there's a reason why hte Regals won the Spud, Island Championship and Atlantic Championship. Better skilled players who worked better as a team and better coaching. The season is over, please stop trying to make excuses for a loss and get over it, you're only making it worse on yourself.

  • Disbelieve
    March 31, 2014 - 09:05

    Where was matrix team? Lack of class was shown by a team and coaches , to jump player with 1 sec left then again while shaking hands , coach should of made his team wait with respect like all other teams did during tourney for player of game awards and respect great game of hockey in pei today !! Regals headcoach deserves a big pat on the back for preparing an atlantics champion team , Hpei should b proud of the host team and use matrix as an example of what should never happen at end of a game , specially in the event of an Atlantic tourney !!

    • Disgusted
      April 01, 2014 - 20:01

      Hockey parent March 31, 2014 - 18:12 Yes the Regals players were totally innocent! There are a number of issues here that should be addressed. Emotions ran high as these players played hard fought games against each other numerous times. The matrix players were wrong in the way it ended but the Regal player also fought. I have never seen a winning team fight...shame on them as well. Lets not forget the ABUSE the matrix players took from fans and the Regals players over and over again every time they played each other in Alberton rink. The bigger issue was the poor reffing throughout the entire game that led to this result. Talk to the fans and coaches from the other provincial teams regarding the unfair reffing every time a team played the host western Regals. Hockey P.E.I, had nothing to be proud of before this game incident. They allowed the Midget Atlantics to be hosted in a rink that did not have a big enough ice surface, no adequate seating or bathroom facilities, and poor parking. Matric parents and fans ( and the other teams as well but more so the MAtrix fans) were subject every time we played the Regals to no seating available unless you were at the rink one hours before game time, blocked in the parking lot, continuous abusive behavior by fans some of who were intoxicated, and the best part is the security that was hired were fathers of the Regals player...how Unbiased is that not to mention unsafe. Lastly almost every Regals fan forgets that each of these young men are someones son that you screamed at, abused, and bood of the ice. That was really classy! Yes the players didnt act good but the fans are grown adults. My final statement is the matric players had to be escorted out the back door of Alberton rink even though they lost. I hate to see what would have happened in that rink if we they had one. I heard one father say to his son" some things never change, this is what use to happen to me when I played hockey up here" Reply