Elora Rocks crowned very first WOSHL champions
TILLSONBURG – The Elora Rocks hoisted the Sleemans Cup Saturday night at the Tillsonburg Community Centre as the very first champions of the Western Ontario Super Hockey League.
The Rocks captured the honours by becoming the first road team to score a win in the best-of-seven championship series when they edged the Tillsonburg Thunder 3-2 in front of 818 spectators. The victory gave Elora a 4-2 triumph in the final series as the previous five games had all been won by the home side.
Elora Rocks 3 Tillsonburg 2
The Rocks scored once in each period Saturday with a power-play goal by Charlie Stephens with 6:57 to go in the third proving to be the series-winner. That goal put the Rocks for the first time in the game.
The teams had been tied 1-1 at the end of the first period and 2-2 after the second.
Alex Utley connected for the first-period goal for the Rocks while Steven Dol had an unassisted shorthanded goal in the second.
Chad Herron, Spencer Maccormack and Andrew Whalen each had an assist for Elora.
Both Tillsonburg goals were power-play markers as Brendan Barletta scored in the first and Mitchell Fitzmorris tallied in the second. Assists went to Jake Brown, Matthew Weston, Eric Langridge and Cam Sault.
The Rocks outshot the Thunder 30-29 and Elora went 1-for-4 on its power play while Tillsonburg was 2-for-5.
Both goaltenders, Colin Dunne of the Rocks and Jesse Raymond of Tillsonburg, had 27 saves.
Four of the five games in the series were decided by a single goal while the difference in the other game was two goals.
Stephens was the playoff MVP with five goals and two assists in the four games he played, all in the championship series. He had four goals and seven assists in the five games he played in the regular season.
Dunne was top goaltender in both the postseason and regular season. He had a 3.19 goals-against average and .896 save percentage in 10 playoff games with an 8-2-0-0 record and a 3.11 goals-against average, .906 save percentage and two shutouts in 19 regular-season games with a 12-2-0-0 record.
The Rocks had finished atop the league with a 17-3-0-0 record while Tillsonburg was third at 10-10-0-0.
The league operated with five teams in its inaugural season with the Strathroy Jets (13-5-0-2), Stratford Fighting Irish (8-10-1-1) and Alvinston Killer Bees (1-18-1-0).
The Langton Royals had hoped to be the other of the league’s original six, but COVID-19 precautions there didn’t allow enough people in the Langton Arena for two teams to put full lineups on the ice.
The Delhi Flames and Plattsville Lakers are to join next season.
- Guelph Sports Journal