Fresh off a four-game, first-round sweep, the McLean & Dickey Orillia Terriers expect to face a tough, tight second-round battle against the Schomberg Cougars when the Provincial Junior Hockey League playoff series starts tonight at Rotary Place.
The Terriers and Cougars finished with identical regular-season records of 21-8-1. The two Jr. C clubs split their season series against each other with two wins apiece.
Orillia head coach Dalyn Telford says the Terriers are in for a close series.
“In the four games we played against them, only two goals separate us,” he said. “It should be a tight series.”
Telford says the Cougars have a potent offence, noting they scored 168 goals in the regular season, which is 34 more than the Terriers scored.
“We are going to have to find a way to shut their top guys down,” he said. “Their top line had 44 points combined in the first round.”
The Terriers are going to rely on goaltenders Wade Monague and Reed Spinola as their first line of defence. Monague had a save percentage of .904 and a goals-against average of 3.30 in the four-game sweep against Midland. Spinola missed most of the opening series while serving a suspension.
“Goaltending in our end of the ice is going to have to be solid,” he said. “I have full confidence in our goalies; they should both be fresh and energized.”
Monague will get the start in Game 1, which goes tonight at Rotary Place, as Spinola finishes the final game of his three-game suspension.
Telford says it will also take secondary scoring, special teams play, and physicality to beat Schomberg.
“We had some good practices and video sessions this week,” he said. “We know what’s ahead. We have to take it one day at a time, stay focused, and remain even-keeled."
Terriers captain Broderick Black says the Cougars “have some really good players on their team.” He says fans should expect a closer and longer series than the Midland bout.
“They have some guys who can put the puck in the net,” he said, “but we fully think we can beat Schomberg if we play our game."
Black says the dressing room is full of energy ahead of Game 1. He is hopeful that local fans will bring the same energy to the stands.
“We had a fair amount of fans who came out for the first series, which was nice,” he said. “We definitely have the best fans and atmosphere to play in front of. It definitely ramps up everybody on the team and makes us skate a little faster and play a little harder.”
The official Terriers schedule for round two is as follows:
- Game 1 - March 22 in Orillia - 7:30 p.m.
- Game 2 - March 24 in Schomberg - 7:30 p.m.
- Game 3 - March 26 in Orillia - 7:30 p.m.
- Game 4 - March 27 in Schomberg - 2:30 p.m.
- Game 5 - (If necessary) - March 29 in Orillia - 7:30 p.m.
- Game 6 - (If necessary) - March 31 in Schomberg - 7:30 p.m.
- Game 7 - (If necessary) - April 2 in Orillia - 7:30 p.m.