Ross prevails in all-Royals boys’ hockey semifinal
GUELPH – It was guaranteed that the Royals would win.
The only question was: Which Royals?
In the end, the Ross Royals hit a minute and 15 seconds into overtime to edge the Centre Dufferin Royals of Shelburne 4-3 in District 4/10 high school boys’ hockey semifinal play Monday at the Victoria Road arena.
Ross is to host the Norwell Varsity Reds of Palmerston for the title Wednesday as Norwell handed the Orangeville Bears a 3-1 setback at Orangeville’s Tony Rose arena in Monday’s other semifinal.
Scoring details of the Norwell-Orangeville game were not reported.
At the Victoria Road arena, Jackson Phillips connected for the winner in overtime..
“I didn’t think I was going to score, actually,” Phillips said. “I got a big pass from (Tyler) Baxter, went down on a 2-on-1 and I just shot. I tried to go far side under the glove and it just worked out.”
Ross had scored the only goal of the first period and led 3-1 after the second. Centre Dufferin came back with two goals in the third.
Dylan Hudon, Connor Snedden and Phillips scored in regulation time for Ross while Adam Nighingale, Snedden and Mitch Penner each had an assist. Tyler Chalifour picked up the win in net.
Noah Milsap, Dylan Szymanowki and Rylan Webster struck for the goals for Centre Dufferin while Jordan Leitch assisted on two of the goals and Cal Stinson and Ty McWray each had one assist. Jake St. Pierre was in net for Centre Dufferin and turned in a strong outing as the busiest of the two netminders.
The overtime period featured four skaters a side and would’ve been a maximum of five minutes. Each team would have put three skaters on the ice for a second overtime period had it gone that long.
The overtime, of course, brought extra pressure to the players.
“Our guys can score, we know that, but whenever you’re in overtime anything can happen,” Ross coach Joel Agnew said. “One bad bounce of the puck and you never know how it would end up. We were pretty confident. Our guys when they were out there had chances and we were going to get chances. It was just a matter of whether we could crack their goalie who played awesome today.”
“It’s stressful,” Phillips said. “I had butterflies in my stomach the whole time I was on the bench before I went on the ice. After I went on the ice, they just went away and I just played my game.”
The season has been a good one for Ross so far and it will continue beyond the league final as both Ross and Norwell are to advance to CWOSSA championship tournament next week.
Ross finished atop the league at the completion of the regular season with a 10-2-0-0 record while Norwell was fourth at 7-2-2-1.
“Our chemistry is just insane and we have a lot of good players,” Phillips said. “A lot of us could be playing junior, honestly, but we just stayed back because we want to win D10 for all the guys.”
“The boys have clicked and bought into everything,” Agnew said. “We’ve had a good, commitment and we’ve been able to run four lines in almost every game. It’s been great.”
Ross edged Norwell 5-4 in their regular-season meeting Dec. 13 at the Victoria Road arena.
Ross is to compete in the AAA tournament at the Centre Wellington Sportsplex in Fergus Monday and Tuesday.
Norwell is to play in the A/AA tournament at Waterford the same two days.
Wednesday’s D4/10 championship game is to be played at the Victoria Road arena and is to start at 2:30 p.m.
“We have our practices here twice a week so we know the rink,” Agnew said. “Being it nice and close to the school allows for some more people to sneak over. That always helps.”
“We’ll be bringing it,” Phillips said.
- Guelph Sports Journal