Royals, Falcons to battle in girls’ hockey final
GUELPH – The Ross Royals are to get a shot at dethroning the Centre Wellington Falcons in the District 10 high school girls’ hockey league final.
The Royals scored a pair of goals about a minute and a half apart late in the third period to edge the Centennial Spartans 3-2 in semifinal play Monday at the Victoria Road arena.
“It was a little too close for my liking,” Ross’s Olivia Sarabura said. “Just because we started out not the best way that we usually do, I think it just shows that we are able to come back and continue to play even if we’re not doing too well.”
The Spartans had twice held one-goal leads as they were up 1-0 at the end of the first period and 2-1 after the second before the Royals came back for the victory, Sarabura firing home the winner with 5:03 to go.
“Going into the third period, we just knew what we had to do,” Sarabura said. “It was a pretty close game and I’d rather be in that position than up a goal just because we kept focus in the change room and were ready to go. I wasn’t too scared about it. We’ve come back before so it’s not like a huge deal.
“I’ve been in this place a few times and I know that it just takes one, it just takes a few close chances and eventually you’ll get one in and then the next one is even easier because the other team’s down after being scored on.”
Lauren Brulotte, Kiley Rowsell and Sarabura scored the goals for the Royals while Sarabura, Emma Mussell and Dylan Meredith each had an assist. Sarah Walker picked up the win in net.
Sophie Tonin and Gabby Durst scored power-play goals with less than six minutes to go in the first and second periods respectively to account for the goals for the Spartans. Cassie Tonin and Kiera Lylyk each had an assist.
The Royals and Falcons are to meet in the league final Wednesday at the Centre Wellington Sportsplex in Fergus. It’ll be the third playoff game this season for the Royals and the first for the Falcons who had a bye in the quarter-finals due to finishing first and won their semifinal when the Bishop Macdonell Celtics forfeited as they didn’t have a goalie available for the game.
Centre Wellington, the defending OFSAA provincial high school AAA champs, finished the regular season at 11-0-1-0 while Ross was second at 9-2-1-0.
The Falcons and Royals clashed twice during the regular season. They battled to a 3-3 standoff Dec. 5 at Fergus and Centre Wellington won 4-1 Jan. 9 at the Victoria Road arena.
“This game is going to be a little bit harder because it is a home game for them and I’m sure they’ll have a lot of fans out,” Sarabura said. “We need to keep our heads in the game and make sure that we continue to play the way we know how to play. I know that we can beat them. We just have to all play together and play like we did that first game against them.”
This will be the third consecutive year that Centre Wellington and Ross will have met in the league final. The Falcons won 3-0 last year while the Royals were victorious 3-1 in 2018.
It’ll also be the sixth consecutive championship-game appearance for Centre Wellington. The Falcons edged the Guelph CVI Green Gaels 2-1 in the 2017 final and were blanked 4-0 by Centennial in the 2016 final.
Game time Wednesday in Fergus is 2:30 p.m.
- Guelph Sports Journal