Ross Royals skate to District 4/10 boys’ hockey title

Ross Royals skate to District 4/10 boys’ hockey title

GUELPH – The Ross Royals capped off their splendid District 4/10 high school boys’ hockey season with a 7-1 victory over the Centre Wellington Falcons in Tuesday’s championship match at a packed Victoria Road arena.

“CW’s a strong team,” Ross coach Joel Agnew said. “We know they’re well-coached and they’d have a very strong effort against us. It was tight right up until the middle of the third where we kind of got a couple of breaks and got that one, that Michigan goal that turned the tide. But it was close all the way through and you never counted them out no matter what the lead was.”

The title win was the second in three seasons for Ross as the Royals had won in 2020 before the 2021 and 2022 championships were lost to COVID. Orangeville Bears won it last year.

This season the Royals finished atop the nine-team league’s standings with an 11-1-0-0 (W-L-T-OTL) record before the Royals dropped the Centre Dufferin Royals 7-3 in the quarter-finals and the Bishop Macdonell Celtics 9-2 in the semifinals.

“It was a very strong year,” Agnew said. “Our goals against have probably been the lowest they’ve ever been throughout the year and we complemented that with a pretty high goal scoring. This has been a special group from the start. We knew we had a good group and to see it all come to fruition at the end is nice and we’ll see what we get at CWOSSA.”

In the championship match, the Royals led the Falcons 2-1 at the end of the first period before they scored the lone goal of the second before scoring four goals in the third period, the final three in the final four minutes of the game.

Ely Sutton scored twice for the Royals including the Michigan goal in the third with Ross having a two-man advantage at the time. The goal was the fourth of the game and gave the Royals a lead that looked comfortable.

“The shift before I was thinking about it,” Sutton said of the Michigan goal. “I knew that we had a power play coming up and I knew that usually when I go in the corner nobody follows me. They won the draw, but nobody followed me in so I just picked it up on my stick and put it in.”

It was the first time Sutton managed to net a Michigan goal, but not the first time he attempted it.

“I did it once here a little bit ago, but it hit the post. It didn’t go in,” he said. “I’ve done it in practice, but never in a game.”

And, of course, the feeling of being successful was great.

“It was awesome,” he said. “Especially with the stadium being full like that, it was awesome.”

Despite being a Grade 12 student, this season is Sutton’s first with the Royals.

“This is my first year on this hockey team,” he said. “I didn’t try out last year.

“I quit hockey for a little bit and last year I just didn’t know that the tryouts were happening and this year I decided to try out.”

And the reason for temporarily walking away from the sport?

“Boredom, I just got bored of it.”

Mason Stewert also had two goals for Ross in the D4/10 final while single goals were added by Keilan Kirkpatrick, Alex Rossi and Zac Conroy. There were few assists in the game for the Royals as Stewert, Kirkpatrick, Isaac Misner and Kaylen Lecompte each had one.

Tye Diljee scored for Centre Wellington with help from Trent Harris and Eddie McDonald.

One of the keys for Ross this season has been the Royals’ ability to follow up on plays as the trailing player was often in the right place at the right time.

“We worked on that a lot with finding the high guy as one of our strengths and getting offence out of that,” Agnew said. “It’s just been that we could run all four of our lines and all six of our D and have constant pressure which really helps us wear down the opponents that we’re playing. We found that all year. It’s been great to see the boys all buy into that.”

Centre Wellington had finished the regular season sixth at 5-6-1-0 before surprising the third-place Norwell Varsity Reds 4-1 in the quarter-finals and the fifth-place Centennial Spartans 7-0 in the semifinals.

Ross advances to the CWOSSA AAA boys’ championship tournament at the Woolwich Memorial Centre in Elmira March 4 and 5.

“(It’ll be) really good hockey there. We’ve seen a couple of the teams in tournaments,” Agnew said. “It’ll be interesting. We’re going to give it our all and we’ll see what we get, but anything can happen.”

Ross last won that CWOSSA tournament title in 2007, the year they won the OFSAA provincial high school AAA/AAAA championship. The AAAA category has since been abandoned.


  • Guelph Sports Journal