WINCHESTER – The North Dundas Demons’ are heading to the Major-Midget championship. The Demons were undefeated in their second round playoff series against the Cornwall Colts, taking the first-to-three-point series March 7th in Winchester.
The team, made up of Major-Midget B Rep level players from the North Dundas and South Dundas minor hockey programs, finished the regular season in third place. For the second round series, they met the Cornwall Colts, who finished second in the regular season.
“Cornwall and us were close all season,” said head coach Aron Sherrer. “[The Colts] have a great balanced team.”
In the first game of the series on March 3rd, the Demons and Colts played to a 2-2 tie. The Colts had taken a 2-0 lead with back-to-back goals in the middle of the first period. Those goals were scored 33 seconds apart.
“We had a couple of misplays that ended up in their favour,” Sherrer said. “The boys never gave up and climbed their way back.”
Nic Brugmans scored with under two minutes left in the second period, and Joey Hannaford tied the game with 3:12 remaining in the third. Liam Antille earned the tie in goal. Each team came away from the game with a point.
Going in to game two in Winchester, Sherrer said the Demons took too many penalties at the start of the game.
“We killed them off very well,” he said. “When our team keeps the puck down low and cycles in the corners we can take control of a game.”
That control showed in the second period on a play up the ice by the line of Dean Lapier, Cam Sherrer, and Colin Minish. Sherrer and Minish set up Lapier’s goal to brake the ice on a power-play, giving the Demons a 1-0 lead. Six minutes later, Curtis Bell buried the puck in the Colts net, assisted by Minish and Lapier. The Demons led 2-0 heading into the third period. A turnover in the neutral zone in the opening minute of the final frame cut the Demons’ lead in half as Colts’ forward Steven Williams found his way past goalie Toby Byrne. That was as far as the Colts would get for the game. North Dundas’ defence blocked attempts by Cornwall to get shots on goal.
“Our defensive play was key,” the coach said.
Desperate to tie the game, the Colts pulled their goalie in the final minute of play. That was when Sherrer scored the empty-net game-winner, sending the Demons to the finals. Lapier and Minish each had three points in the game, Lapier with a goal and two assists, Minish with three assists.
Coach Sherrer credited the goaltending duo of Byrne and Antille as one of the main reasons the team is where they are.
“All season they came up with huge saves that rallied the team,” he said. “We have two legit number one goalies on our team, and the players have confidence in them every night.”
The Demons will face their biggest challenge in the finals, the Char-Lan Rebels. Char-Lan finished the regular season in first place, with a record of 25 wins and three losses. The team led the league in goals-for, and had the lowest goals-against-average, allowing less than two goals per game.
“Char-Lan is a good team that earned themselves first place in the regular season,” Sherrer said. “Their speed on the fore-check caused us some problems when we played them this season. We have to show up expecting a hard game of hockey, because that is what it is going to be for both sides.”
That said, the coach sees the team driven to beat the Rebels.
“I know our boys are going to be hungry as it’s not every year you get a chance at the banner,” he said. “For some, it’s their last chance at it.”
Sherrer said to win, the team is going to have to play smart, hard-fought hockey.
“Get bodies out front and pucks to the net; win every little battle on the ice, one shift at a time.”
The Major-Midget championship begins March 19th at the Chesterville Arena.