Lions to challenge Panthers for Novice B title

South Dundas Lions’ goalie Liam Barkley deflects a shot from a Kemptville Panthers B2 forward during game one of their semi-final series March 5th in Morrisburg. The Lions won that game 2-1. (The Leader/Blancher photo)

MORRISBURG – The South Dundas Lion’s Novice B team are heading to the finals after defeating the Kemptville Panthers B2 team with a pair of wins last week.

The Lions took their first match of the second-round playoff series with a 2-1 win over the Panthers March 5th. Grayson Casselman and Kane Casselman each had a goal in the game for the Lions.

The following day, the Lions won the series in Kemptville 4-3. Kane Casselman scored in the first period for the Lions, and Grayson Casselman scored twice in the second period. The Lions led the Panthers 3-1 at the start of the third period.

Kemptville tied the game with a pair of goals two minutes. A tie would have forced a tie-breaking game three. Jeremy Barkley scored the game-winning-goal with 18.6 seconds remaining in the game, assisted by Brody Ortwein, to win the game, and the series 4-3.

“The kids are super excited to make the finals,” said team head coach Joe McCooeye. “For some of the players, this is their second time making a league final as they were a part of the Novice C team that finished as runner up last year.”

He said that the whole team has improved throughout the season.

“We have two first year Novices (Max Bazinet and Logan Veerman) and you can’t tell they are by watching, they have improved that much,” McCooeye said. “Jeremy Barkley and Brody Ortwein outwork most of the opposition, Greyson Casselman has been an offensive force all year, and Kane Casselman added some much needed balance to our offence.”

The coach said the team’s defence is their calling card, led by Brenna McCooeye. “No one gets by her. Keagan Sadler, Declan Kelly, and Daymon Julien also have made it hard for the other teams to get close to the net.”

In net all season, goalie Liam Barkley hasn’t seen many shots from other teams.

Looking ahead at the final against the Panthers B1 team, McCooeye said Kemptville has a good goalie and is a very good defensive team.

“Goals will be hard to come by,” he said. “Hopefully we can pop one early on in the games and make them chase us.”

The Lions’ series against the Panthers begins March 18th.

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