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Collingwood clinches a spot in Centennial Cup semi-finals

Noah Pak named game MVP and the top goalie in Junior A hockey
Goaltender Noah Pak #31 of the Collingwood Blues watches the puck during the third period at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex on May 15, 2024 in Ontario, Canada.

A nail-biter of a game involving not one, but two 5-on-3 power plays saw the Blues, once again, take the W in the Centennial Cup preliminary round and take the top spot in their group with a bye past the quarter-finals into semi-final play. 

The Blues took down the Navan Grads (CCHL) in their final round of preliminary play with a one-goal lead they defended in a dramatic, yet scoreless, third period. 

It was Navan that netted the first goal in the first period during a powerplay, but Collingwood answered 17 minutes into the first with a goal by Landon Wright assisted by Jack Silverman and Jack Rimmer. 

The Blues started the second period on a power play and Spencer Young put one into the Navan net less than a minute into it with assistance from Marcus Lougheed and Calum Chau. 

Less than four minutes later Ethan Facchina, a newcomer to the Blues this year, scored the Blues' third and last goal of the game with assists from Jack Robertson and Jack Rimmer. 

Navan answered with one more goal of their own, also their last of the game. 

The second period ended with a holding penalty for the Blues' Rimmer and, less than 30 seconds later, an unsportsmanlike conduct call on Mark McIntosh leaving the Blues to start the third period with just three players to Navan's five. 

The tables turned quickly as Spencer Young drew an interference penalty from Navan at 51 seconds in and the Navan captain, Gabriel Crete followed his teammate to the sin bin with a hooking penalty called at two minutes. The Blues spent a minute playing five on three, this time in their favour. 

But Navan held their zone and goalie Jaeden Nelson kept his head to save several shots from the Blues. 

The teams battled it out in the third, but the goalies wouldn't let anything pass. The Blues won 3-2.

Blues goalie Noah Pak made 37 saves, at least one on his belly, and was named MVP. This week, Pak was named this year's Canadian Junior Hockey League's top goaltender, an accolade he also received from the OJHL this year. 

At the Collingwood Legion, where the local fans have gathered for watch parties during the Oakville-hosted Canadian Junior Hockey League championship Centennial Cup games, chants of "let's go Blues" rang out, but the most enthusiastic applause (next to a Blues goal) came every time the play-by-play included "another block by Pak." 

This is Pak's last year in the Ontario Junior Hockey League. He's got a scholarship and NCAA Division 1 commit to Yale University this fall.

With 12 points in the Centennial Cup standings and the top spot in group A, the Blues will skip the quarter-finals and have their choice of an opponent in the semi-final game on Saturday, May 18 at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex in Oakville where the quest for the Centennial Cup continues. 

Some of the fans who joined the watch party at the Legion while the Blues won their fourth game at the Centennial Cup, earning the team a spot in the semi-finals. . Erika Engel/CollingwoodToday



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Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter and editor. She has 15 years of experience as a local journalist
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