Alliston vs Penetang

Kings reclaim crown, end Alliston's title streak

Posted March 17, 2014

The Penetang Kings are champions of the Georgian Mid Ontario Jr C Hockey League (GMOHL) following a 2-1 win last night over the Alliston Hornets at the NTRC, to take the series in six games. The Kings will now move on to the OHA provincial round and meet Wingham, Western League champs, in the quarterfinals.

It's Penetang's first GMOHL title since back to back wins in 2006 and 2007, a streak ended by the Alliston Hornets in 2008, whose own consecutive championship run ends at six.

Alliston's lone goal last night was scored by Mark O'Donnell with 35 seconds left in the game, assisted by Dakota Brooks and David LeBlanc, two of the four Hornets whose junior hockey careers came to a close last night because of age. Bobby Sloan and William Brandon the others.

Hornets coach Clay Birkett, while acknowledging the organization's success, said this morning he was "still disappointed as I believe we are the better team this year as well."

"We couldn't get the break or bounce you need," Birkett said via email. "Game 1 lost 3-2 there and we missed several chances. Game 4 we lose in overtime. We outplayed and chanced them. We missed several chances in overtime. Our defenseman falls behind the net and puck bounces out front game over. Last night we had goal called back that should have counted and they push our goalie into the net for their goal. Just no luck. Boys worked very hard and never gave up. They were very classy."

Birkett, whose full-time role with the Hornets organization has been Manager of Hockey Operations, moved behind the bench in January following the ouster of Ed Garinger. He said this morning, that "I am seriously thinking about returning as Head Coach but need a week or so to decide."

It is Alliston's earliest exit from the playoffs since 2007. They finished the regular season first, five times in addition to the six league titles since 2008. The Hornets won two OHA titles, and made five consecutive provincial finals appearances, losing in last year's semi-finals to eventual winner, Picton.

"It was nice to look into the stands and see the rink full last night," wrote Birkett. "Game 5 in Penetang we had a huge crowd as well. We by far have the best fan support in our league and are very thankful for that."

Alliston boasts 19 players that are eligible to return when camp opens in August. But the off-season work gets underway immediately, said Birkett.

"The reload for next year starts today and we will be back for the league championship next year."

Best of Seven
Championship round

(1) Penetang v (2) Alliston

1. ALL 2 @ PEN 3
2. PEN 2 @ ALL 4
3. PEN 6 @ ALL 3
4. ALL 4 @ PEN 5
5.ALL 3 @ PEN 0
6. PEN 2 ALL 1

Click to view Scoring Leaders

Click to view Goaltending Leaders