Clarence Castors netminder Shane Morris stops a shot against the South Grenville Rangers in Sunday’s 6-5 overtime win. Morris has played more than 34 minutes of shutout overtime in the first two games of the NCJHL finals. Photo: Mac Hinton

Hockey fans in Clarence Creek are going through a lot of coffee these days.

Jacob Servant was the hero last weekend for the Clarence Castors, firing home the winner in double overtime in BOTH of Clarence’s weekend games against the South Grenville Rangers, in the finals of the National Capital Junior Hockey League (NCJHL) playoffs.

If Castors fans were looking to settle their nerves after last week’s seven-game series win over the Gatineau-Hull Volant – a series in which the Castors were up 3 games to none – they certainly didn’t get it in the first two games against South Grenville.

Servant scored his second overtime winner in less than 24 hours to send the hometown fans home happy, as the Castors outscored the Rangers 6-5 on Sunday (March 27) in double overtime. For the second night in a row, netminder Shane Morris shut down the Rangers over more than 17 minutes of overtime play, making several spectacular saves.

Forward Ryan Carroll had two goals for the Castors in regular time, while Xavier Brunet had a single. Alderic Denis and Nicolas Gaumond each had a goal and an assist in the game, while defenceman Matthieu Brennan recorded two assists.

The two teams were tied 2-2 after the first, with Clarence forging ahead 4-3 after two periods. The Rangers forced overtime by outscoring the Castors 2-1 in the third, before the overtime heroics of Servant and Morris.

Saturday night’s (March 26) game at the Cardinal Arena was equally exciting, with Servant scoring his second goal of the game seven minutes into the second 10-minute overtime period to lead the Castors to a 4-3 victory series opening win. Morris was solid in both overtime periods, repeatedly frustrating the Rangers forwards. Alderic Denis and Cayden Martin also scored for Clarence in the victory.

The Castors and Rangers were scheduled to face off again on Tuesday, March 29, in Clarence Creek at 8:20 p.m. (score unavailable at press time). On Saturday, April 2, Game 4 is slated to go at the Cardinal Arena at 8:10 p.m. On Sunday, April 3, the Castors will be back home at the Beaver Dam in Clarence Creek for Game 5 (if necessary). Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Big changes for CJHL Junior A playoffs

Hockey Canada announced last week that regional Junior A championships – including the Fred Page Cup – have been canceled and the 2022 Centennial Cup will move to a 10-team national championship that will be held in Calgary. This means the winner of the 2021 Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) playoffs will go directly to the national championships to represent the league.

The Fred Page Cup – which was to have been hosted by the Summerside Western Capitals this season – was first awarded in 1995 and was one of four regional tournaments to determine the participants of the national Junior A championship. The four-team event has been hosted annually between the host team and the league champions from the MHL, the CCHL, and the Quebec Junior Hockey League (LHJQ). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last time the Fred Page Cup had been held was in 2019 in Amherst, N.S.

The newly formatted 2022 Centennial Cup, presented by Tim Hortons, will be a 10-team event hosted in partnership with the City of Estevan, Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) and Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), with the host Estevan Bruins welcoming the champions of the nine CJHL leagues.

Hockey Canada also announced changes to the Esso Cup and TELUS Cup for this season. The 2022 Esso Cup and 2022 TELUS Cup will run from May 16–22 in a centralized location in Alberta, while the Centennial Cup, presented by Tim Hortons, will be held May 19-29 in Estevan, Sask. The Prince Albert Bears and Sydney Rush, who were originally scheduled to host the Esso Cup and TELUS Cup, respectively, will remain as host teams for the 2022 events and will travel to Alberta to compete.

Schedules and ticket information for the 2022 Centennial Cup national championships will be announced at a later date.

Dagg scores first goal in Junior A

My buddy Kyle Dagg scored his first career Central Canada Hockey League goal last Saturday (March 26). Kyle scored at 7:26 of the second period for the Smiths Falls Bears in their game against the Renfrew Wolves, in an eventual 3-2 overtime loss.

Kyle, who is from Smiths Falls, was just called up to the Bears last month from the Westport Rideaus, where he served team captain. Just 17-years-old, he had eight goals and 29 assists for 37 points in just 26 games with the Westport Rideaus Junior B squad this season before being called up by the Bears.

This first goal is just the start for Kyle!

Known as Vankleek Hill’s Sports Authority, Mackenzie Hinton writes regular sports updates on his popular Facebook page and is the statistician for the Vankleek Hill Cougars Junior Hockey Club. His column appears weekly in The Review.