WEST COUNTY • The Oakville/Chaminade Mid States Challenge Cup round-robin playoff game had all the makings of a classic.
Both the Tigers and the Red Devils were undefeated and, based upon goal differential, were the top two teams in the standings of the Blue Conference headed into the final opening round game for each team.
The teams had also split the season series, with each side winning a game.
All the drama was sucked out of the Greensfelder Recreation Complex hockey rink at Queeny Park, as the Red Devils scored in the first period and never trailed in a 3-1 victory.
“This feels really good because it gives us a lot of momentum going into the next round of the playoffs,” Chaminade sophomore forward Trey Dodd said. “We definitely had a goal in mind tonight, and we did it.”
The main goal, it seemed for Chaminade (16-5-3) was to limit the amount of rebounds and second and third chances for the Tigers.
It was a successful plan as Oakville was unable to sustain pressure in the offensive zone and that made it easy for the Red Devils to succeed in transition.
“We cleared out the rebounds well and our goalie (Ellis Burgett) did a good job of controlling his rebounds,” acting Chaminade coach Keith Van Gels said. “Scoring a goal right before the end of the period is huge. It’s a momentum shift. That’s what happened there.”
With just over one minute left in the period, Red Devils sophomore forward Robert Gilleland was in the right place at the right time and he got a shot past Oakville junior goaltender Blake Chapman to open the scoring with 1 minute, 9 seconds left in the period.
With just over two-and-a-half minutes gone in the second period, Dodd gave the Red Devils the 2-0 lead.
“A two-goal lead is better than a one-goal lead, certainly,” Van Gels said. “As they say, though, the two-goal lead is the most dangerous lead in hockey.”
That proved to be true, if for a little while at least.
Just over six minutes later, Oakville (16-7-1) cut the lead in half when Andrew Kovacich slid the puck past Burgett to slice into the lead.
“I think tonight, I wanted to see more effort,” Oakville coach Derek Stephens said. “Sometimes this game can be overcomplicated, but sometimes it can be simple when you just put out the effort.”
With 3:25 left in the second period, Chaminade got the insurance it needed.
That’s the point where sophomore Michael Parisot jammed the puck home for a 3-1 lead and that’s where the score would stay.
Chaminade outshot Oakville 30-22.
With both sides already having advanced to the quarterfinal round Stephens said the loss, obviously, wasn’t the worst thing.
The only thing it might really wind up being is a precursor to some interesting quarterfinal hockey.
“Depending on how the seeds bear out, we could play Chaminade again in the quarterfinals,” Stephens said. “It would be pretty interesting.”
Along with Oakville and Chaminade, CBC and Kirkwood advanced to the quarterfinal round from the Blue Conference.
The quarterfinal matchups and schedules will be announced at a later date.
Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/high-school/hockey/chaminade-tops-oakville-in-opening-round-finale/article_453f16b0-6f52-11e2-b538-001a4bcf6878.html#ixzz2K8Njzb47