Cards sweep aside challengers in high school hockey

By: Randy Pascal – Playback

 | Feb 26, 2014 - 4:31 PM |
Things are mighty fine in the land of the Cardinals this week.

St. Charles College completed the sweep of both the boys and girls Division I high school hockey leagues, winning championship banners on back-to-back days.

The boys manhandled the Lasalle Lancers in three straight games, closing out the series with an 8-0 whitewash on Monday evening at the Carmichael Arena as Jacob Leore paved the way with a hat trick.

Jordan Tall added a pair of goals, with singles coming courtesy of Peter Raymond, Nathan Scruton and Andrew Dodge, while Connor Blunt registered the shutout.

The distribution of hardware would see Leore walk away with Most Valuable Player honours for the regular season, while Cardinals' defenceman Ryan Liinamaa secured MVP status for the playoffs.

Needless to say, the St. Charles contingent will be a confident lot heading into the NOSSA A/AA playdowns in North Bay.

"I think the guys picked it up in the playoffs, and when they had to finish their chances, they're actually finishing right now," said assistant coach Darren Michelutti.

"We have a lot of firepower and when our lineup is full, it's nice to see what they can do."

Though the offensive output was impressive, the Cardinal coaching staff drew upon the recent Team Canada gold-medal performance in sending a message to their boys.

"All year, we've been harping on team defence and that was something that we wanted to make sure they took into this series," said Michelutti.

With their sights fixated on claiming a berth at OFSAA this year, the Cardinals are a focused bunch.

"It's going to have to be a total team effort," said Michelutti. "I think we have more depth than a lot of the teams we're going to face. But defensively, we've been talking a lot about where we need to be at that next level."

On Tuesday, the St. Charles girls duplicated the boys results, sweeping aside the Collège Notre-Dame Alouettes in two straight games and defending their city title in the process.

Summer Butterfly scored both goals for the Cards in a 2-1 Game 2 victory, with Josée Scott countering with the only goal for CND.

On Monday, St. Charles set the tone with a 5-1 win as Brittany Reinhardt drained the hat trick to lead the way.

Keara Cronin and Butterfly rounded out the scoring for the winners, with Kaylie Venedam replying in a losing cause for the Alouettes.

As of Wednesday morning, confirmation had not yet been received regarding where the two finalists will classify (SDSSAA teams can now wait until after the city finals to determine where to compete for NOSSA), though it seems likely that St. Charles will remain at A/AA.

If so, Notre-Dame could choose to follow the same route, hoping that one of the Sudbury entries emerges as NOSSA champions. With the 2014 OFSAA Girls Hockey Championships slated for Sudbury from March 18-21, two SDSSAA teams could well compete, one as NOSSA champion and the other sliding in as host team.

In the Girls Division II final, Bailey Laforest scored twice while goaltenders Brandee Pearson and Samantha Champagne shared the shutout as the Bishop Carter Gators blanked the Sacré-Coeur Griffons 4-0.

Jillian Braney and Melissa Martel also found their way on to the scoresheet for the Gators, who look to close out the series later this afternoon at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.

Bishop Carter also advanced to the Division II finals last February, before bowing out to the St. Benedict Bears. As for NOSSA, both the girls A/AA and AAA/AAAA events are being staged in Sudbury on Monday and Tuesday, along with the boys AAA/AAAA championship, while the A/AA boys head to North Bay to battle things out.

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