Casselman Vikings face Perth in EOJHL finals

The Casselman Vikings will face off against the Perth Blue Wings for the Barcley Cup in the finals of the Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey League (EOJHL), after knocking off the Ottawa West Golden Knights four games to two in the Martin Division finals.

Viking goaltender Zachari Racine stoped 34 of 35 shots in Game 6 on Wednesday, April 13, while team captain Mathieu Talbot had two goals in Casselman’s 3-1 victory to clinch the series. The Vikings only learned who their opponent would be on Saturday night, when Perth shut out the Carleton Place Junior Canadians 2-0 to earn their spot in the final in six games.

Game 1 of the series goes in Perth on Tuesday, April 19, with the second game of the series scheduled for Thursday, April 21 in Casselman at the JR Brisson Complex, with puck drop at 8 p.m. Friday will see the series shift back to Perth, before returning to Casselman for Game 4 on Sunday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m.

CCHL playoffs living up to hype

The Central Junior Hockey League’s quarter-final series are living up to the pre-playoff hype, with multiple overtime games and a first-round upset in the making. Let’s take a look at each series.

Hawkesbury Hawks (2) vs. Navan Grads (7) – The seventh place Grads have given second-place Hawkesbury everything they can handle so far in this series. Hawkesbury came back to score a 5-4 overtime win in Navan on Sunday and take a 3-1 series lead, and hope to clinch on Tuesday evening (April 19) in Hawkesbury, but this is far from a done deal, as three of the first four games have gone to overtime. This is a nail-biter of a series and the Hawks will have to continue to dig deep to wrap it up.

Ottawa Junior Senators (1) vs. Smiths Falls Bears (8) – With their 5-1 win on Monday night (April 1) in Smiths Falls, the Junior Senators swept the series in four games straight. The Senators were the class of the CCHL and one of the top teams in Canada during the regular season, so this was no surprise. Smiths Falls win over the Rockland Nationals in a sudden death game to decide the final playoff spot was the team’s highlight of the season. The Bears played hard against Ottawa, taking the Junior Senators to overtime in Game 3 on the road, but ultimately just didn’t have the horsepower to win the series.

Brockville Braves (3) vs. Pembroke Lumber Kings (6) – I predicted an upset in this series in my column last week and the Lumber Kings did their best on the weekend to prove me right, posting consecutive wins over the Braves to take a 3-1 series lead. After a tight checking 2-1 win in Brockville on Saturday (April 16), Pembroke broke loose at home on Sunday with a 6-1 win. The Braves will look to come back on Tuesday at home, but their goaltending has been shaky this series and will need to be better than in last weekend’s games if they hope to win three in a row.

Kemptville 73’s (4) vs. Renfrew Wolves (5) – Another upset in the making here, but this one is much less surprising. Kemptville kept its season alive at home on Sunday, posting a 6-5 win in a high-scoring shootout to stave off elimination after losing the first three games of the series. The Wolves will get a second chance to close out the series at home in Renfrew on Tuesday (April 19).

Nationals Filion wins CCHL award for academics

The Central Canada Hockey League has announced that Rockland Nationals rookie forward Gabriel Filion has been named 2021-22 High School Academic Player of the Year.

The 2004 born Montreal, QC native had a 94 per cent average in his Fall term and currently has a 96 per cent average in his Winter courses.

On the season, Filion has chipped in with 18 points (11G, 7A) in 52-games. His 11 goals are second among all rookie skaters.

Prior to his time in the CCHL, Filion suited up for the Mount Academy Saints of the CSSHLE in 2019-20 and for the Maine Noridiques U16 AAA program in 2020-21.

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