SPORTS & LEISURE
Last-second goal puts Raiders in driver's seat
Whelan's tally gives Raiders 2-0 lead after Georgetown romps in opener
EAMONN MAHER Staff Writer Overtime hasn't been kind to the Georgetown Raiders over the past couple of years, so Jeremy Whelan's seemingly flukey gamewinning goal on Monday night just as regulation time ran out was greeted as an overdue sign of good fortune in the visitors' dressing room at Burlington's Central Arena afterward. The fourth-place Raiders escaped with a 4-3 triumph over the fifth-seeded Burlington Cougars in a contest that appeared destined for some tense extra time. Instead, the Raiders stunned the 600 fans in attendance with the controversial goal at 19:59 and are now ahead 2-0 in the OHA Provincial Jr. A Hockey League best-of-7 quarter-final after trouncing the Cougars 8-2 in Saturday's curtain-raiser. They will host game three tonight (Wednesday) at the Alcott Arena starting at 8 p.m. Georgetown trailed game two 3-2 with only four minutes remaining in the third period and a senseless Zak Ray roughing penalty appeared to give the Cougars a reprieve from some relentless offensive attacks by the Raiders. But Adam DeJong stole the puck from Burlington defender Josh Shrum in the neutral zone and was able to wrist his partial breakaway shot under the arm of goalie Eddie Davey for the equalizer. Then, with overtime almost a certaintly as the last few seconds of the final frame ticked down and forechecking aggressively as they had throughout the fastpaced game, the Raiders forced a turnover in Burlington's zone with under 10 seconds remaining. Rob Sgarbossa's no-look centring pass from the corner was batted out of the air by Whelan towards the net, off Burlington goalie Eddie Davey, then agonizingly rolled over the goal line for the clinching marker. The Burlington bench smashed sticks in protest and wouldn't leave the ice surface, claiming that time had expired, but referee Mike Bolibruck stood by his decision. "I was just trying to get it at the net and I didn't even know I scored. It's just overwhelming,"
Burlington Cougars' goalie Eddie Davey (right) drops to the ice as Georgetown Raiders players mob Jeremy Whelan following his goal with one second left Monday that gave Georgetown a 4-3 win. Photo by Eamonn Maher
The Burlington Cougars, neither by hook nor crook, could keep up with the Georgetown Raiders Saturday in the opening game of the teams' best-of-seven Provincial Jr. A Hockey League playoff series at Alcott Arena. Here, Georgetown's Ryan Ford (40) tries to escape from Burlington's John Cassels during Georgetown's 8-2 win. The Raiders also won 4-3 Monday in Burlington to take a 2-0 series lead. Photo by Eamonn Maher said Whelan, whose former team, Monday's first-star Whelan, who Whelan said. "It just happened his hometown Pickering had a 28-goal campaign. "We'll that Stuey played great the last Panthers, lost a league-record six- take them as we can get 'em. We game of the year so we'll just roll overtime game to the Toronto Jr. don't care if it's shorthanded or with whoever until it ends." Canadiens on Saturday. "Sgarby power play, just as long as we In Saturday's opener, Georgepassed it out to me the first time win, we're happy." town's Matt Carter struck twice and I fanned on the shot. The secThe Raiders, 0-3 in overtime in 3:26 into the first period and ond time, I batted it out of the air, last year's playoffs, had been despite a Burlington charge in the the puck hit (Davey's) blocker unable to post an OT win in 11 middle stanza to cut the hosts' and trickled in. Unbelievable. But consecutive games dating back to lead to 3-2, the Raiders again this series isn't over yet." last season until they scored a 4-3 hounded the Cougar defence and The Cougars led 2-1 after the victory in Brampton Nov. 9. were rewarded with breakaway first period but were frustrated on Marc Stuart picked up both goals by Lovatsis and Ryan Ford. the power play, unable to score wins in goal for the Raiders as Carter, the 19-year-old from on a couple of two-man advan- coach James Richmond had a dif- Mississauga, finished with a hat tages, instead giving up a short- ficult decision to make heading trick on the night, with Kyle handed marker to Whelan on a into the series. Twenty-year-old Schwende chipping in a pair. Jon harmless-looking one-on-one Keaton Hartigan saw the lion's Southgate rounded out the goalrush. George Lovatsis tapped in a share of action in the nets during getting and Stuart made 36 stops. power play rebound for the only the regular season and posted a Game four of the series is slatscoring in the second period, fol- 16-11-3-2 record, although he ed for Burlington on Friday, with lowed by Michael Budd's second gave up a combined 16 goals in game five, if necessary, back at goal for Burlington early in the late-season losses to Brampton the Alcott Arena Saturday facing third to put the hosts up 3-2. and Hamilton. Stuart had a 12-1- off at 7:30 p.m. Burlington went 2 for 14 with 0-0 record down the stretch for In the other OPJAHL West the man advantage through the Georgetown and his play in an 8- Division first-round series, the first two games and has given up 1 regular-season finale romp over first-place Brampton Capitals lost three shorthanded goals. In fact, host Hamilton helped earn the 8-6 to guest Milton on Monday the Raiders, who outshot the Raiders home-ice advantage in the night, tying the series 1-1. Cougars 47-41, seemed to be even Burlington series. Oakville and Hamilton are up 3-0 more dangerous on offence when "We trust both of our goalies over Mississauga and Streetsville, short a man. and to be honest we could play respectively. (Eamonn Maher can be reached at "I don't know why that is, but either one of them and come out email@example.com) whatever works I guess," added with a victory, no problem,"