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Tignish Aces cap strong finish to 2020-21 season with another P.E.I. junior C title

The Tignish Aces are all smiles as they celebrate winning the Razzy’s P.E.I. Junior C Hockey League championship. The Aces posted a series-clinching 5-3 win over the Georgetown IceDogs in Pownal recently to sweep the best-of-five final series.
The Tignish Aces are all smiles as they celebrate winning the Razzy’s P.E.I. Junior C Hockey League championship. The Aces posted a series-clinching 5-3 win over the Georgetown IceDogs in Pownal recently to sweep the best-of-five final series. - Contributed
TIGNISH, P.E.I. —

The Tignish Perry’s Construction Aces saved their best hockey for the most important time of the season.

The Aces completed the 2020-21 campaign on a 10-game winning streak – the last four games of the regular season before sweeping two best-of-five series for a playoff record of 6-0 (won-lost). 

It resulted in the team winning its second Razzy’s P.E.I. Junior C Hockey League championship in three years. It also marked Tignish’s fourth straight appearance in the league final.

“Once we got into a groove, all the boys started playing well together,” said Aces right-winger and team captain Brayden Handrahan of Tignish. “Once the playoffs hit, we all got on board. We wanted to win the Island, and it didn’t seem like anything was going to stop us.”

The Aces, who have won 15 straight playoff games dating back to Game 1 of the 2019 finals, completed the regular season in second place with a record of 17-6-0 (won-lost-overtime losses). Tignish swept the North River Flames in the semifinals before defeating the first-place Georgetown IceDogs in the league final. Both series were best-of-five sets.

“Everybody was ready to go,” said Aces centre Dawson Sellick of Tignish. “In the dressing room, there wasn’t one person who had to be pumped up. 

"Everybody knew they had a role to play every shift, and everybody took that into the game and played hard.”

“Once we got into a groove, all the boys started playing well together. “Once the playoffs hit, we all got on board. We wanted to win the Island, and it didn’t seem like anything was going to stop us.”

- Brayden Handrahan

Sellick and Handrahan said winning the provincial title in their final year with the Aces was special.

“Plus, not being able to finish it off last year made (our team) want it a little bit more,” added Sellick.

The Aces led the North River Flames 2-0 in the best-of-seven final in 2020 when COVID-19 ended the season.

Young players

Tignish head coach Dwayne Handrahan said this year's Aces featured lots of youth and he admitted he didn’t expect to beat Georgetown in three straight.

“I think we had 10 first-year players,” he said. “It was like a rebuilding year, but they pulled up their socks and did what they could.”

Sellick said he felt the Tignish rookies adjusted nicely to a new league. By the halfway point of the season, Sellick said they were becoming comfortable.

“We were a tight-knit group, everybody gets along, and everybody always has each other’s back,” said Sellick. “It made us better as a team.”

Coach Handrahan called the Aces’ success a total team effort. He explained a perfect example of that was what happened in the playoffs.

“We have our No. 1 line of Dawson Sellick, Brayden Handrahan and Tristan Cahill that played good all year, but when it came to playoffs, the other lines stepped right in,” he said. “Thomas Shea, James Doyle and Oliver Smallman got most of our points in the last round.”

Like any team that enjoys playoff success, the Aces received outstanding goaltending from Colin Gaudette and Cole Gallant. Dwayne Handrahan said the Aces’ tandem gave the team a chance to win every night.

“The biggest thing (was) we had was two goalies you could trust any game,” said Brayden Handrahan. “We just went back and forth.”

Style of play

The Aces’ relentless play and pursuit of the puck also contributed to the team’s success. Dwayne Handrahan said the Aces’ game plan was to force the opposition when they had the puck. 

“Usually, Tignish is known for having a physical team,” said Sellick. “We played physical for the most part and made sure we always had our eye on the puck and were forechecking hard and focusing on our end a lot.”


Playoff History

A look at the Tignish Perry’s Construction Aces’ recent playoff history:

2021

  • Won league championship
  • Swept the North River Flames in best-of-five semifinal series.
  • Swept the Georgetown IceDogs in the best-of-five final series.
  • Overall post-season record of 6-0.

2020 

  • Led the Flames 2-0 in the best-of-seven final when season cancelled due to COVID-19.
  • Swept the Sherwood-Parkdale Metros in the best-of-five semifinal series.
  • Overall post-season record of 5-0.

2019

  • Defeated the Flames 4-1 in the best-of-seven semifinal series.
  • Defeated the Metros 4-1 in the best-of-seven final series.
  • Overall post-season record of 8-2.

2018

  • Swept the Southside Lynx in the best-of-five semifinal series.
  • Lost 4-3 to the Metros in the best-of-seven final series.
  • Overall post-season record of 6-4.

2017

  • Lost to the North River Flames 3-1 in the best-of-five quarter-final series.
  • Overall post-season record 1-3.

Jason Simmonds is the Journal Pioneer's sports reporter.

Twitter.com/JpsportsJason

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