Despite a two win-one loss record, the Morrisburg Combines were unable to defend their 2013 Ontario Championship title at the Ontario Senior Winter games held in Haliburton, Ontario, from February 17-19.
“The team came in as the defending champion, having won the gold medal in the previous games in 2013. While not making it to the medal round, they put in a good performance and proved again, that they stack up well with the best hockey players of their vintage (65-plus years), from across the province,” says team member Jake Cole.
The Combines won two games out of three in their pool, and failed to make it to the medal round by the slimmest of margins.
They kicked it off with a 2-0 win against Brampton and then lost to York, 4-1.
They followed the loss to York with a 5-2 win against Ottawa.
The standings were based on points and when it was tallied Morrisburg, Brampton and York were tied with 27 points. Ten points were earned for a win, five for a tie, two points awarded for each period win (two-period games) and one point for a tie.
“We came very close to getting into the medal round,” says Combines goaltender Les McAllister. “But they went to a series of tie breakers, and we didn’t make it. It was a tough way to lose out. All we needed was one more goal.”
Fern Gauvreau led the team in scoring with five goals, and Guy D’Aloisio added two.
As always, the team leader and goalie, 79-year-old Les McAllister kept the team in every game making countless big saves.
The Combines were dealt some bad luck when player/coach Doug Casselman popped a muscle in his bicep early in the second game, and then was limited to the coaching duties for the remainder of that game, plus the final game.
Sorely missed from this year’s lineup was Jack Haines. Always one of the top scorers in the games, Jack could not accompany the team for the first time this year because of health issues.
“This is my second time playing with the Morrisburg Combines, and I can say with enthusiasm that it is a very positive experience,” says Cole.
The Ontario Senior Games provide an opportunity for athletes at all levels and in various sports, to compete in a very well organized series of games in an Olympics-style format.
“The Ontario and Canadian games are the main reason I continue to play,” says 79-year-old McAllister. “They treat the participants so well. The lodging is good, and the food is good.”
“I very much enjoy the fellowship and the humour in our dressing room. We only get together for these games, and usually play a couple of exhibition games to get ready. It’s always a fun time.”
District 8 was represented by the Combines in the 65 plus years category and by Cornwall in the 55 plus grouping. The Cornwall team also failed to advance after finishing tied in their pool.