Sunday, April 17 – Hawkesbury 5 Navan 4 (OT)

The two Jeremys struck late to send the Hawkesbury Hawks to an overtime 5-4 road victory and a 3-1 series lead against the Navan Grads on Sunday afternoon (April 17), in the first round of Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) playoff action.

With netminder Matthew Tovell on the bench for an extra attacker, Jeremy Quesnel scored on a breakaway with just 15 seconds left in the third period to tie the game 4-4 and send it to overtime. Jeremy Tremblay then struck just 1:23 into overtime, firing a shot from the left faceoff circle into the top corner to send the Navan crowd home disappointed.

Antoine Dorion, with his first of the playoffs, Kerfalle Toure (his fifth) and Jakson Kirk scored to stake the Hawks to a 3-2 lead heading into the final period. However two goals by Navan just over a minute apart midway through the third had the Hawks on their heels and facing a 4-3 deficit. Cue the comeback.

Tremblay was named the game’s first star for his overtime heroics, while Landon Brownlee, who had two assists, earned third star honors.

The series between the Hawks and Grads has seen tight playoff hockey in each game, with three of the first four contests going to overtime. The effort by Navan was not unexpected said Hawks Head Coach Rick Dorval, once his heart had settled back down from Sunday’s overtime win.

“I think I aged about five years during last night’s game,” understated Dorval, who had praise for the effort shown by both the Grads and his own squad. “(Navan has) come in prepared to push us up against the wall and we’ve had to answer night in and night out.”

Late season acquisitions have been key for the Hawks in the series, particularly the duo of forward Kerfalla Toure and his younger brother, defenceman Djibril, who were acquired in a late season trade with the Carleton Place Canadians.

“Everything we hoped when we made the big trade at the deadline to bring in the brothers – they’ve been tremendous for us,” Dorval said. “Kerfalla with five goals in four games has been a key part of our offence.”

The Hawks have a chance to clinch the series on Tuesday night (April 19) at home in a game that starts at 7 p.m.

Prior to Sunday’s overtime win, the Hawks faced adversity in all of the first three games. Below is a summary of each contest in the series so far.

Friday, April 15 – Hawkesbury 4 Navan 2

Kerfalla Toure, Jeremy Tremblay, William Gendron, and Jakson Kirk found the back of the net, while Matthew Tovell made 20-saves as Hawkesbury doubled up the Grads to take a 2-1 series lead. Navan had goals from Ryan Burke and Braeden McKinnon, while Carter Garvie made 20-saves in the loss.

Navan jumped out to a 2-1 lead after one period, but goals by Tremblay and Gendron put the Hawks up 3-2 going into the third. Kirk’s first goal of the playoffs at 13:56 of the third sealed the 4-2 victory. Gendron and Tremblay were named the game’s first two stars.

Thursday, April 14 – Hawkesbury 4 Navan 3 (OT)

Kerfalla Toure scored twice, including the overtime winning goal, Max Klanow and Jeremy Quesnel added singles, while Matthew Tovell made 30-saves as Hawkesbury evened their series with Navan up 1-1. Hawkesbury jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, with Klanow and Toure scoring, but Navan came back with three straight goals to take a 3-2 lead early in the second. Quesnel tied up the game late in the second, and a scoreless third period led to Toure’s overtime heroics.

Tuesday, April 12 – Navan 4 Hawkesbury 3 (OT)

Alec Lovisek netted the overtime winner and Navan netminder Ben West made 26 saves, as the Grads stunned Hawkesbury at home in the opening game of the series at the Robert Hartley Sports Complex. Hawkesbury received goals from Ryan Murphy, Josh Spratt, and Kerfalla Toure, while Matthew Tovell made 23-saves in the loss.

– With files from Mac Hinton