Leafs Win First Provincial Major Midget Championship
It took over 200 minutes of hockey to determine two results, but in the end it was the St. John’s Maple Leafs coming out on top in an exciting finish to the 2014-15 Newfoundland and Labrador Major Midget Hockey League season.
Saturday night at The Glacier in Mount Pearl, Drew Stonehouse’s goal at 7:59 of the third overtime period gave the Leafs a 3-2 win over the Western Kings and their first provincial major midget crown.
The Maple Leafs took the series 4-2.
In Game 5 last Sunday night in Corner Brook, the teams went to triple overtime before Andrew Barron of St. John’s got the winner at the 14:48 mark.
“I expected a long series because there wasn’t a great deal separating the teams, but I certainly didn’t expect a couple of triple overtime games,” said St. John’s coach Ed Oates. “They could have went either way, but fortunately for us, things went our way.”
St. John’s was first in the standings this season with 49 points (24-7-0-1), seven more than Western (19-9-0-4). The Leafs scored 147 goals and allowed 94, while the Kings’ goal for and against ratio was 133-87.
The Maple Leafs will now represent the province at the Atlantic major midget championship April 2-5 in Kensington, P.E.I. The winner of that tournament will wear Atlantic’s colours in the Telus Cup national major midget championship April 20-26 in Riviere-du-Loup, Que.
Danny Rice and Matthew Smith, with the tying goal with 3:48 left in regulation time, also scored for the Leafs Saturday night. Mateo Short and Brady Griffin-Hefford replied.
“We’re a fit team (under assistant coach and strength and conditioning guru Bob Thompson), and through the course of the year, we usually wore teams down,” said Oates.
“No doubt our conditioning paid off in this series.”
The Maple Leafs hope to accomplish what another St. John’s team, under the Fog Devils banner, did in 2010 when they captured the Atlantic championship in Upper Tantallon, N.S. In 2011 and ’12, the St. John’s Privateers reached the Atlantic final, but since then Newfoundland — represented by Western and Central IcePak last spring — has been a combined 2-6 at the Atlantics.