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Friday, May. 24, 2019
First hockey banner since 1985 for Lo-Ellen Park boys
by Randy Pascal

Down two games to none in their best of five city final, the Lo-Ellen Park Knights had the St Charles College Cardinals right where they wanted them.

"All year, we've kind of put ourselves in a bad spot, not playing our game," noted veteran defenceman Matty Allen. "When we went down 2-0, I think the pressure was really on them. We really felt, as a team, that we had nothing to lose, so we would just give it everything we had."

While that approach might not have been scripted by Lo-Ellen coaches Mike Spourdalakis, Chris Verrilli or Leo Verrilli, the end result was just fine as the Knights captured their first SDSSAA senior boys hockey banner since 1985, blanking the Cards 1-0 Saturday afternoon in Garson.

Backstopped by a shutout performance from Jacob Bartolucci, with Allen and mates taking advantage of a seeing-eye goal, the south end school earned the top seed in the NOSSA "A/AA" tournament that kicked off today in Sudbury.

The comeback was even more impressive when one considers that Lo-Ellen had not only lost the first two encounters, but had failed to register even a singular goal, falling by scores of 1-0 and 3-0 to open the series.

"The first two games, we didn't put any pressure on their defence," suggested Allen. "We just tried to skate it in and were not getting pucks in deep, forcing them to turn around and go chase the puck. They were able to breakout and we weren't able to get any zone time."

"The next two games, we decided to dump pucks in and chase the "D" hard and hope to create some turnovers." While the strategy did pay dividends over the course of the last three games, there was a bit more "Lady Luck" involved in what would stand as the series winning goal.

"It was a power play and a nice D to D pass from my defence partner (Jake Bennett)," recalled Allen. "I took a shot and there was a big crowd in front of the net. People say it tipped off something. I don't know if it was a St Charles player or one of our guys, but all I know is that thing went top shelf and it counted."

Lo-Ellen forward Parker Anderson, who netted a pair of game-winning goals of his own in the post-season, both in overtime, was awarded the Playoff MVP honours. Joining Lo-Ellen and St Charles at the NOSSA championships, locally, are the Algonquin Barons (North Bay) and the Korah Colts (Sault Ste Marie).

The Sault, meanwhile, is playing host to the "AAA" tournament, with both the Horizon Aigles and Confederation Chargers making the trek from Sudbury, hoping to earn a berth at OFSAA, from March 20th to the 22nd in Barrie.

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