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Pirates swat Hornets, head to Junior C Schmalz finals

Pirates-vs-Alliston-Dean-Peever-photoPicton Pirates Report: Picton Sweeps Alliston Hornets 4-0 with dramatic 5-4 win

The Picton Pirates have swept the perennial powerhouse Alliston Hornets 4-0 in the Provincial Schmalz Cup Semi-Finals with a spectacular 5-4 third period comeback on the road Wednesday night.

The patch eyes will now face the Essex 73s in the Schmalz Cup Finals to declare the 2013 Provincial Junior ‘C’ Champions.

The Pirates are the first Empire B Junior ‘C’ team to advance to the provincial finals since the 1995-96 Napanee Raiders.

General Manager and Head Coach Ryan Woodward said he couldn’t be more proud of his players and stressed that their determination and tireless pursuit of victory has earned their ticket to the provincial finals.

“I’ve been saying for a long time, that this is a special group of young men. They believe in each other and are willing to do whatever it takes to reach their goal, said Woodward. “Tonight we had to really dig deep and find a way to finish off a very strong and experienced team. We have a lot of respect for the Alliston Hornets. They are a great team and first-class organization. Our players are hungry to prove themselves and their hard work has been rewarded with a ticket to the Ontario Finals.”

The game four win and series sweep avenges the 2011 loss to the Alliston Hornets in the provincial semi-finals.

Woodward said that the experience two seasons ago helped prepare the patch eyes this time around.

“We learned a lot from our playoff run in 2011 and it was added motivation for the guys that were on that team. Our depth and experience has made a difference this year. We had outstanding performances from every player this series and throughout the playoffs. Everyone has bought in and we will need that kind of focus and intensity versus Essex in the Finals.”

The Pirates roared out of the gate Wednesday night at New Tecumseth Recreation Centre. Forward Brian Bunnett opened the scoring with his 2nd shorthanded goal of the series at 2:21 of the first period. At 4:05, Ryan Sizer drove the net and finished off a pass from Mitchell Smith to extend the patch eyes early lead to two. Line mate Jack Davison had the other assist. The Pirates added their third goal of the period at 16:40 when veteran forward Tyler Kearns buried a Steve Csanyi rebound to give the patch eyes a big lead after one period of play.

The score remained the same until Hornets forward Randy Cox woke up the Alliston crowd with a goal at 16:58 of the middle frame. The goal gave the home side momentum entering the third period; it took just 53 seconds for forward David Leblanc to pull the Hornets to within one. At 6:01 Brandon Alward tied the game for the Hornets and a few minutes later Cox added his second of the game to give the home side their first lead of the game with fourteen minutes left to play. The Pirates have faced adversity before and showed great determination in the final ten minutes of the game. At 11:07, Empire B Regular Season Scoring Leader Ryan Sizer tied the game for the Pirates when he banged in a rebound in the slot. Smith and Davison had the assists. At 16:55 forward Geoff Cleminson chipped a puck up to Brian Bunnett and Cole Bolton who broke loose for a 2-on-1; Bunnett sucked in the goaltender and defender before sliding a pass across the slot to Bolton who made no mistake tickling the twine and sealing the 5-4 comeback and series win for the Pirates. The patch eyes have now exploded for seven wins in a row after surviving a 3-1 deficit to the Lakefield Chiefs in the previous round. Goaltender Andrew Pearson made 32 saves and picked up all four wins in the series versus the Hornets, “Andrew played great all series and tonight he made a big save late to seal the win.”

Woodward said the support the Pirates have received from family, alumni and fans in Prince Edward County and the surrounding area has made this record-setting season and magical playoff run even more special.

“It’s great to see lots of alumni in the stands supporting the guys, our players want to make them proud. Our fans have been rallying the boys both at home and on the road. It makes a real difference to know everyone is behind us. The crowd on Monday for game three was big and it was loud. We will need the fans to bring that kind of the energy to the building in the finals.”

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The Pirates will now focus their attention on the Essex 73’s and start to prepare right away. Home ice and when the series will start have yet to be determined. “I expect we will be in contact with Essex tomorrow and we will figure out the schedule fairly quickly.”

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  1. Mark says:

    Fantastic comeback victory to send the Picton Pirates to the Ontario Final. Congrats!!!!

    And the Pirates have just announced they won the coin toss and will play Essex in games 1 & 2 at home most likely the weekend of April 19th.

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