The Avalon Roebothan McKay Marshall Capitals celebrate with the Penny Kia St. John’s Junior Hockey League trophy after defeating the Southern Shore C&W Offshore Breakers 3-2 in overtime of Game 5 Saturday at Goulds Arena. The Capitals won the best-of-seven series 4-1. Members of the team are, from left: (back) Darrell Brown, Nathan Hutchens, Alex Dickie, Josh Crane, Matt Barrett, Ben Murphy, Alex Powell, Brett Vokey, Nick Harte, John Charles Snow, Davis Gosse, Derrick Hutchens, David Hickey, Mike Cole, Steve Marshall; (middle) Justin Clarke, David Hutchens, Bobby Squires, Alex Robbins, Matthew Downer, Kristian Husk, Zack Mitchell; (front) Zac Tucker, Ben Cleary, Ben Marshall, Mike Collins, and Doug Pippy.
©— Submitted Photo
Michael Cole scored the winning goal with nine seconds remaining in overtime as the Avalon Roebothan McKay Marshall Capitals defeated the Southern Shore C&W Offshore Breakers 3-2 to win the Penney Kia St. John’s Junior Hockey League championship Saturday night at Goulds Arena.
Avalon coach David Hutchens said all along the series would be decided by special teams and goaltending and he felt his team had the edge in those areas. In the end, those strengths paid off.
“Our power play and penalty kill was better than theirs and our goalie (Doug Pippy) outplayed their goalie (Josh Carey),” said Hutchens.
“It was a great game of hockey. It was back and forth right to the end. One lucky bounce made the difference,” Hutchens said of Game 5.
Hutchens said going into overtime with the title on the line didn’t bother them in terms of pressure.
“There was never any panic on this team all season and that what’s makes the difference in the end.”
The Capitals’ coach said it’s exciting to win the championship on an overtime goal, but “a win is a win” and he’d take it any way they could.
“In the end it really doesn’t really matter, but the overtime win felt pretty good,” he admitted.
The Capitals’ Alex Powell, who was chosen playoff MVP, and Josh Crane had the other goals for Avalon who took the best-of-seven series 4-1.
“They (Breakers) were unfortunate to run into a couple of injuries which cost them in the end, same as it did to our group this time last year,” said Hutchens, referring to Avalon being swept in last season’s final by the St. John’s Caps.
“I don’t want to knock them because they have a great team, but even if both sides were healthy I believe we were the better team and we showed that all season.”
The first-place Capitals finished with 45 points in the regular season, seven more than the third-place Breakers.
Hutchens said there were a number of Avalon players who performed well in the playoffs such as rookies Ben Cleary and Josh Crane, but he called Powell “a special player.
“Alex has been in the league three years. He’s a defenceman and captain of our team and he logged over 30 minutes a night, so he was the MVP.”
Powell felt the difference in the series was his team’s depth.
“We didn’t have to rely on one or two guys. We had everyone on board going hard,” he said.
“Overall, we were confident that we should win the series if we played the way were capable of playing. Even when we were down in (Game 5) we knew we were capable of coming back.”
The Breakers had 1-0 and 2-1 leads before the Capitals rebounded for the victory.
“It’s been a long time coming, but it feels really special to finally win it,” said Powell.
This is Powell’s final season in junior and he said he will “hopefully” play provincial senior hockey somewhere next season “wherever I can get a game.”
Peter Kavanagh scored both goals for the Breakers.
Jungle Jim’s players of the game went to Pippy and Carey.
In Game 4 on Sunday, Cole, Ben Murphy, Cleary, Bobby Squires and Zack Tucker scored and Pippy made 21 stops as the Capitals won 5-4.
Dylan Joy, Brandon Baird and Mitchell Martin lit the lamp for thr Breakers, with Carey stopping 21 of 26 shots.