It is on to the second round of playoffs for the South Dundas Novice C1 Lions!
The Lions (second place in the regular season) met their county rivals from North Dundas for their opening round playoff and knocked them off in two straight games, by 4-0 and 5-1 scores.
Although, originally scheduled to kick off Tuesday, February 16, on home ice, Mother Nature intervened and the series opener was moved to Chesterville on Wednesday.
The venue change had no effect on the team as they completely shut down the Demons for a 4-0 first game win.
While Lion goaltender Rowan McCooeye picked up the shutout, much of the credit goes to the great defensive effort put forth by the entire team.
After a scoreless first period, the Lions struck for a 1-0 lead on the strength of a Jordan Lowe break-away goal, when he was set up beautifully with some precision passing from Harrison Burke and Graham Loucks.
Just 43 seconds later, Lowe scored again when he took a break out pass from Burke and then beat the Demons goalie with a low blast into the far corner of the net.
In the third period, centre Henry Martens led the way with great forechecking and puck distribution.
First he set up sniper Owen MacDonald to push the Lions to a 3-0 lead.
Then, after the Lions dumped the puck into the Demons’ zone, Martens beat the defence to the puck, headed around the net and found MacDonald in the high slot.
Later in the period, the Lions were applying more sustained offensive zone pressure when Martens fed the puck back to the point where Kade Van Beilen made no mistake with it to finalize the Lions 4-0 win.
Game two of the series was played back in Morrisburg on Thursday night.
While the Demons played a stronger game than they did in the opener, the Lions continued their strong play and skated away with a 5-1 victory to advance to playoff round two.
This time, the Lions opened the scoring early on the strength of continued strong play from Martens, who picked up where he lead off the night before with strong skating and puck pressure that resulted in many great chances.
On his first shift of the game, (in a two on one with MacDonald streaking down the far wing), when the Demons defenceman took away the pass, Martens picked the corner to stake the Lions to a 1-0 lead.
Four minutes later he found the back of the net again when he took the puck on the side boards and beat two Demons defenders to get to the front of the net.
The Lions continued to press in the second period, and took a 3-0 lead after Alyza Mullin brought the crowd to its feet with excitement.
Mullin, always one of the Lions hardest workers, scored her first goal of the year by going to the high slot and converting a beautiful feed from Van Beilen. She took the pass perfectly and fired the puck past the Demon goaltender.
On the next shift, Lowe stole the puck from a Demons defenceman and roofed a back hander to make the lead 4-0.
Kade Van Beilen finished the Lions scoring starting with a pass from defence partner Cameron Froats. Van Beilen then skated into the offensive zone and from the side boards near the top of the circle rifled a laser shot into the top corner of the net!
In the third period the Demons mounted one last effort, but Lion’s goalie McCooeye was up to the task.
With the exception of Demons’ centre Graydon Garlough, (who beat McCooeye with a strong shot to cut the lead to 5-1) McCooeye turned away all of the Demons shooters.
It was the only goal the Demons mustered in the series and when the buzzer went the Lions celebrated a series sweep.
Lions coach Jason Martens was extremely pleased with the effort of all players, and mentioned how great it was to see Mullin rewarded for all her hard work this season.
The Lions will open their second playoff round on home ice this Saturday, February 27th at 1 p.m.