Alliston and Midland in league finals starting WednesdayPosted March 4, 2013
The Wikipedia history of junior hockey in Midland, which only dates back to 1980, lists retired NHLer Sandy McCarthy, as its only "notable alumni. He grew up in Barrie.
According to his player profile on the Hockey Hall of Fame's web site, McCarthy played 18 games with the Jr. C Midland Centennials in 1987-88. He scored two goals, and an assist, and registered 70 penalty minutes. The next season he played Tier II Jr. A in Hawksbury, followed by four years of major junior hockey with the Laval Titans, including a Memorial Cup round.
"The Calgary Flames took him 52nd overall in 1991 NHL Entry Draft after hitting the 20-goal mark for Laval. McCarthy was returned for one more year of junior where he was a dominant power forward with 39 goals and 326 penalty minutes," according to his player profile. "During the 1992-93 season, the young forward apprenticed with the Salt Lake Golden Eagles of the IHL. The next year he began nearly five years as Calgary's chief enforcer. In addition to dropping his gloves, McCarthy was an effective forechecker and a solid defensive player." He would play 736 NHL games, and 23 in the playoffs, before retiring after the 2003-04 season.
McCarthy's in his second season as head coach of the Jr. C Alliston Hornets, looking to add a second consecutive league championship to his coaching resume while his team looks to make it six in a row. Their opponents are the Midland Flyers who are making their first appearance in a league finals since winning them back to back in 1984-85 and 1985-86 when they were still named the Centennials and pre-merger in the Georgian Bay loop. In 84-85 Midland made it to the provincial finals but lost to Belle River in five games.
Midland has not been to the finals since the Georgian Bay league merged with the Mid Ontario loop in 1994 when they also changed their team name to the Flyers. Last year they were swept in the semifinals by Stayner, who were swept in the finals by Alliston. This year, Midland knocked Stayner out in five games to reach the finals.
Midland's led by their captain, Curtis Warren, the league's regular season MVP, who topped the league in goals with 46, and finished third in the points race at 70, behind Alliston's Mike Campeau who had 93 and Randy Cox with 79. And while Campeau, 23 points, and Cox, 19 points, are one two in the playoff scoring race, it's Warren's teammates defencman Jason Leigh with 15 points and Cody Beasley 14, picking up the offense through the playoffs.
In the net, Alliston's Tyler Brindle sports a 5-0 record with one shutout in six appearances, with 12 goals against. His GAA is 2.20. He's expected to carry the workload. The Hornets have veteran Jr C netminder Robbie Alsop as back-up. Alsop, who was acquired by the Hornets from Midland in December 2010, has won two league titles, and two finals appearances in the Clarence Schmalz Cup finals as the Hornets number one goalie.
Midland goaltender Conner Aikens has a 5-2 playoff record, with one shutout. He's given up 16 goals with a 2.28 GAA.
The Hornets are 8-1 with their only loss at home to Penetang. Midland is 8-2, but 5-0 on the road.