Hornets, Kings GMOHL finals start tonight, mayors make side
Posted March 7,
Up until 2008 when the Alliston Hornets won their first league
championship since 1984, the Penetang Kings always seemed to be the
insurmountable obstacle that killed any forward progression through the
Before the various Jr. C leagues merged in 1995 to create the Georgian
Mid Ontario Hockey League (GMOHL) the Hornets only beat the Kings once
during the cross-over rounds of the provincial title chase, and that
was in 1978 in the OHA quarterfinals. Penetang would win subsequent
series' in 1979, 1982, and 1984.
Following the merger that put both teams in the same league, the Kings
won back to back titles in 2006 and 2007, including the OHA
championships. The Hornets snapped that streak in 2008, against the
Kings, and again in 2009 and 2010. In fact, Alliston is on a six year
title run, looking to make it seven, when play opens tonight in
Penetang in the best of seven series. Game 2 is Sunday night at the
Clay Birkett, whose been on the team management side of each of the
championship years, is the head coach now, stepping in after Ed
Garinger was relieved of his duties on January 9.
"If you would have told me two months ago when I took over we would be
in the league finals I would have been thrilled with that," said
Birkett this morning in an email to Free Press Online. "Now that we are
here I nor the team is content at just being here but focused to win
another league title. Penetang is a very good hockey team and we
respect that. We are on a roll as well having swept a good Fergus team
and solid Stayner one. We have 22 out of 23 players healthy and we are
The Kings come into the finals after sweeping Midland in the first
round, and knocked Schomberg off in six games.
Kings head coach Dale Gignac, making his first finals appearance behind
the bench, told Free Press Online that his squad is a "very determined
group of young men who believe in one another."
"They set many team goals at the start of the season and were willing
to put in all the hard work it takes to accomplish all our goals," said
Gignac. "We felt we had a very strong group of returning players in all
positions that have grown together over the past couple of seasons. ...
I believe the team that is able to stick to playing their game will
have the edge."
The Hornets come into the finals with the number one powerplay, 29 per
cent, and penalty kill, 87 per cent, while Penetang's special teams are
24 per cent on the PP and 82 per cent on the PK.
And each side is turning to their veteran goaltenders to start
including Tyler Brindle, 4-0 with a 3.48 GAA for Alliston, and Adam
Redgate, 8-2, and 3.05 GAA.
"Our game plan is simple, we need to show up and out-work them every
shift," added Birkett. "I have rolled four lines since the beginning
and plan on continuing to do so. Our discipline has been very good,
special teams have been excellent. I will draw on the experience of our
older guys and veterans to pave the way for our rookies. This is going
to be a very good series and look forward to being a part of it."
Off the ice, New Tecumseth mayor Mike MacEachern, and Penetanguishene
Mayor Gerry Marshall have made a bet that will include the losing town
to fly the other's flag at their respective Town Hall, and have to wear
the winning team's jersey at a council meeting.
The GMOHL champion will move on to the OHA round and play the winner of
the Western Hockey League, whose finals involve Wingham against
Walkerton, tied at a game each, with Game 3 tonight.
Best of Seven
Championship round schedule
(1) Penetang v (2) Alliston
1. ALL @ PEN Mar 7, 8:00 pm
2. PEN @ ALL Mar 9, 7:00 pm
3. PEN @ ALL Mar 11, 7:30 pm
4. ALL @ PEN Mar 12, 8:00 pm
*5.ALL @ PEN Mar 14, 8:00 pm
*6. PEN @ ALL Mar 16, 7:00 pm
*7. ALL @ PEN Mar 17, 8:00 pm
* if necessary