Fort-Coulonge March 27, 2023
The Fort-Coulonge Midget (U18) Comets, many playing in their final game of minor hockey, had the biggest win of their lives on Sunday, defeating the Renfrew Timberwolves in the third and deciding game of the Upper Ottawa Valley Minor Hockey League’s Midget playoffs to become the A division champions.
The Comets finished third out of 13 teams in the regular season with a record of 13-5-2, just behind Arnprior and the team they would eventually meet in the finals, Renfrew. Along the way they gained some momentum with big tournament wins in Barry’s Bay, Kingston and Shawville and headed into the playoffs hot.
The top seven teams in the regular season would play for the A championship in a round-robin format, while the bottom six teams would play for the B. Only the top two teams would advance to the A finals, so the Comets knew they would have to be close to perfect to have a chance. All six round-robin games were hard fought against tough opponents but they found a way to dig deep and finished undefeated securing first place in the round-robin with a record of 4-0-2. They then waited to see who their dance partner in the finals would be, and the tough Renfrew team locked up that spot with a record of 3-2-1.
The top two teams would now face off in a final series with the first team to four points being awarded the championship. With Fort-Coulonge finishing first in the round-robin, they earned home-ice advantage and therefore hosted game one which was played on March 24. An extremely tight game was contested in front of a big Friday night crowd and the result was a 2-2 tie. Pierre-Luc Lariviere and Hugo Boisvert did the goal-scoring for the Comets.
Saturday, the teams met again for game two in Renfrew and you could feel the tension had increased in the series with both teams knowing that a loss here would put them on the edge of elimination. Again the momentum went back and forth and Renfrew tied it up late and that is how it would stay with a final score of 3-3. Scoring for the Comets were Xavier Graveline, Jordan Acres-Levesque and Hugo Boisvert.
Game three back in Fort-Coulonge Sunday would decide a winner with both teams coming in with two points. The Fort-Coulonge arena was packed tight with between 200 and 300 anxious spectators in attendance. Xavier Graveline beat the goalie in close midway through the first to give the hometown team the lead to get things started. Both teams were scraping for every inch in yet another extremely close battle. Renfrew was trying to survive and the Comets were looking for some insurance heading into the second. Captain Tyson Ferrigan would give them that insurance late in the second on a shorthanded breakaway goal to put the Comets up 2-0. They then leaned on goaltender Jean-Michel Landry and did what they have done well all season, play gritty lockdown defensive hockey. They killed a couple of late penalties and fought off the six on four attacks from Renfrew who had pulled their goalie in the final minutes. The buzzer rang, Landry secured the biggest shutout of his life and the Comets brought home the championship to the delight of the hometown crowd. The Comets were awarded the championship trophy, plaque and medals by league representatives and the players, coaches, friends and fans celebrated together on the ice taking pictures and enjoying the special moment together.
Tim Ferrigan is the manager of the Fort Coulonge Comets
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