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Friday, May. 24, 2019
Cardinals remain flawless defensively, securing series lead
by Randy Pascal

The 2018-2019 edition of the St Charles College Cardinals boys hockey team is not blessed with an offensive arsenal that ranks among the most prolific in school history.

No matter, given how well the team is playing defensively these days.

The defending city champs made it back to back shutouts and a 2-0 lead in the best of five SDSSAA final, Tuesday afternoon at the Gerry McCrory Sports Complex, whitewashing the Lo-Ellen Park Knights 3-0.

The scoring was evenly distributed throughout the contest, with Cole Molyneaux breaking the ice on the power-play in the first, Adam Szalai doubling the advantage with 5:27 to play in the middle stanza, and Taylor Bedard adding a little icing on the cake coming home.

St Charles netminder Riley Ouellette stopped all 22 shots directed his way, following the pattern first established by crease partner Kameron McCue in game one as the Cardinals downed the Knights 1-0, in overtime, in Garson on Saturday.

Matty Belanger snapped the scoreless affair early in overtime, as SCC offset their challenges at one end of the rink with near perfection at the other. "We're keeping it tight, defensively, and we have good communication in the defensive zone," noted Ouellette, who also posted a shutout (5-0) in the third and deciding game of the city finals one year ago versus the Confederation Chargers.

"Everyone is playing well right now, dumping pucks deep and fore-checking hard." While many expected that St Charles would be facing the Horizon Aigles, the team which finished first in regular season play, in the city finals, the Knights had other ideas.

They needed overtime to slip past the Bishop Carter Gators in the quarter-finals and went the distance before eliminating the Aigles in game three in the semis. Finding a hole in the Cardinals' defensive fortress has proven somewhat more challenging for the Lo-Ellen lads.

"They don't have one major scoring power, but they're a grinding team," noted Ouellette. "We just have to keep them to the outside and they can't do very much with that." Good thing too, as it's not like the St Charles reps are lighting up the scoreboard to this point in the series.

"We just have to keep getting people in front of the net, pucks and bodies to the net, and keep banging in rebounds," said Ouellette. With the NOSSA A/AA Boys Hockey championship scheduled for Sudbury early next week, the Cardinals are hoping to set the tone with a sweep tonight at Countryside.

"The better we play now, it's going to lead into NOSSA and hopefully we can get to an OFSAA championship," stated Ouellette. "I think we can make it to OFSAA - I hope. Last year, we had a lot of really strong older players. This year, we have a younger crowd."

"We're all working hard and playing the systems."

Puck drop for game three is set for 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening (February 27th), with NOSSA set for March 4th and 5th.

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