MORRISBURG–It was a battle to the end, but Monday night, in front of their hometown fans, the South Dundas Bantam B Rep Lions claimed the 2011/12 Upper Canada Minor Hockey League’s East Division championship.
After a tough challenge from the Char-Lan Rebels in semi-final action, the Lions met head on with the Cornwall Colts who finished the regular season in first place, five points ahead of the second place Lions.
Game one of the four point championship series was played in Cornwall on Sunday (March 4), and the Lions skated away with a 3-1 victory to claim the first two points.
That set the stage for the championship, 3-2 victory, on home ice Monday night.
The Colts were first on the scoreboard, taking a 1-0 first period lead on a Brandon Denault goal.
The Lions got lucky in the second when, in a scramble in front of the Cornwall goaltender the puck ended up going in off a Colts defenceman.
Drew Minish was credited with the tying goal and Lions captain Andrew Jarvis got the assist.
Just over the halfway mark of the third period, Jarvis took charge when he picked off a Colts cross-ice pass at their blue line
The Lions were killing off a penalty when Jarvis made the interception, beat the Colts defenceman and then made a great move on their goaltender to give the Lions a 2-1 lead.
The 2-1 Lions advantage held until the Colts pulled their goalender and Quinn Bennis fed Josh Black a pass that he deposited into the empty net with 1:16 left on the clock.
However, the game wasn’t over yet. The Colts returned their goaltender to the crease and then launched an attack which resulted in a Kristian Palmer tally with 26 seconds left in the game.
That would be it, and the Lions held on for the 3-2 championship win.
Zach Frawley, in the Lions net, made some huge saves in the dying minutes of the game to allow the Lions to hold on, and the Colts goalie was called upon several times to stop the Lions from stretching their lead.
In Cornwall on Sunday, the Lions went up 1-0 in the first period when defenceman Josh Black moved in front of the Colts net to put a rebound shot past Leroux. Quinn Bennis and Toby Mullin earned the assists.
In the second, Drew Minish, from Randy Fawcett, sent Jarvis in all alone to beat Leroux on a back hand shot.
Connor Lapointe got one back for the Colts to end the second period with the Lions in the lead 2-1.
Midway into the third period, Quinn Bennis, with help from Josh Black and Toby Mullin on the Lions power play, iced the cake with the Lions third goal and that was it.
In semi-final action, the Lions had their hands full against the Char-Lan Rebels.
After opening the series with a slim 1-0 victory, the Lions were unable to shut the Rebels down, as they came back with a strong 4-0 victory.
That forced a game three, back in Morrisburg last Thursday, March 1. This time out, the Lions didn’t underestimate their opponents, and with an unbeatable Frawley in net, they went to work for a 6-0 victory.
Aaron Smith led the Lions’ scoring charge with two goals, while singles came from the sticks of Evan Mullin, Ben Michels, Andrew Jarvis and Josh Black.
The South Dundas Lions will now meet the winners of the West Division series currently underway between Perth and Smiths Falls for the league championship.
The series will be played following next week’s March break.