CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – A bang-bang play propelled the Arsenault’s Fish Mart Western Red Wings to a 3-1 win over the A&S Scrap Metal Metros and to win their second straight Island Junior Hockey League title Thursday in Charlottetown.
In the second period, Spencer Groom rocketed a one-time point shot off captain Chasse Gallant’s faceoff win in the Metros zone and beat goalie Alex Kelly over his left shoulder for the eventual game-winning goal.
From there the Wings got an insurance goal in the third period from Connor Morrissey and held on, especially in a furious final three minutes of the third when the Metros pulled Kelly for an extra attacker.
For Groom, the win was a team affair.
“It was a whole team effort. There was no real time when we thought we’re going to win. We just kept battling until the end. We kept the game physical and tried to beat them down. I think we wore them down, they’re a fast team and we had to be physical,” said Groom, who had an assist on the third goal. “It feels good obviously. (The Metros) gave us a pretty competitive series. It’s nice to play against someone in the final that’s not the (Kensington) Vipers.”
Western won Game 6 and the best-of-seven series 4-2 and moves on to represent P.E.I. at the Don Johnson Memorial Cup, April 24-29 in Membertou, N.S.
The Metros had the early leg up with a goal by Dylan MacDonald 17 minutes into the first frame. MacDonald’s unassisted seeing-eye shot wove its way through traffic and slipped through the five-hole of Wings netminder Luke Oliver.
But Western’s Silas Handrahan tied things 1-1 a little over a minute later and sent the teams into the first intermission even. Nick Reeves and Isaac Knox earned assists.
A back-and-forth second frame was only broken up by Groom’s goal as Oliver and Kelly stopped chance after chance.
Then Morrissey’s power-play score just over two minutes into the third forced the Metros into attack mode. It did that, but Oliver and the Wings defence proved equal to the task and frustrated the Metros offence.
Metros captain Cody MacPhee said it hurts knowing his squad had so many chances to score, but was satisfied with the Metros effort.
“I’m proud of our boys. It was the first time in the finals (since 2010). It was tough series playing these guys. They’re a hell of a team,” said MacPhee. “Some bounces didn’t go our way. They got one on the power play and that put the dagger in. We spent most of the third period in their end, but couldn’t bury one.”
Oliver stopped 36 shots for the win, while Kelly kicked aside 34 shots in the loss.
Gallant was named playoff MVP.
A look at Thursday’s Island Junior Hockey League playoff game at Cody Banks Arena.
Western – Silas Handrahan (5), Spencer Groom (1) and Connor Morrissey (3).
Metros – Dylan MacDonald (3).
Western – Nick Reeves (2), Isaac Knox (6), Chasse Gallant (10), Spencer Groom (4) and Calvin MacRae (7).
Metros – None
Western – Luke Oliver, 36-of-37, win (5-1).
Metros – Alex Kelly, 34-of-37, loss (3-4).
Next Up – Western will represent P.E.I. at the Don Johnson Memorial Cup April 24-29 in Membertou, N.S.
By The Numbers
Shots By Period
Western – 15-10-12, 37.
Metros – 14-15-8, 37.
Western – 6.
Metros –- 8.
Western – 1-for-4, 25 per cent.
Metros – 0-for-3.
Western – 0.
Metros – 1.