Underdogs on Top

Catherine Kim

When the Minor Midget Jr. Canadiens clinched the eighth and final spot in the Scotiabank GTHL playoffs, they knew their first round series against the Kraft Cup winning Toronto Young Nationals wouldn’t be an easy one.

“The Nats are a very good team, as they’ve shown all year,” said Jr. Canadiens Head Coach Luigi Vigilani. “Even though we lost all three games to the Nats during the regular season, two of the three games were very close one-goal games. We knew from the start we had a chance in the series.”

In a trend that would repeat itself throughout the Minor Midget loop, the Jr. Canadiens managed to come out on top as the underdogs – defeating the Nats in seven games.

“Advancing into the second round was a full team effort and we came out every game believing in ourselves and very hungry to beat a strong Nats team,” said Jr. Canadiens forward Cody Morgan. “We plan on taking the same hard work approach against the Rebels in the second round.”

The Jr. Canadiens weren’t the only lower seeded team to advance to the second round of the playoffs. Three out of the four first round GTHL playoff matchups were won by lower seeded teams, including a hard-fought series win by the seventh place Vaughan Kings.

“We had the same line up we had for September and October – fully healthy,” explained Kings Head Coach Beau Moyer. “Our coaching staff was prepared through video analysis in order to have an upper edge on the way the [Mississauga] Reps played game in and game out.”

Facing a second place Mississauga Reps team, the Kings won the first round series in six games. In addition to using video analysis tools, Moyer attributes the victory to a strong first line presence, which included timely goal scoring from key players.

“We’re going to take the same approach going into the second round against the Toronto Marlboros and hopefully come out on top,” said Moyer.

In addition to series wins by the Kings and Jr. Canadiens, the fifth place Mississauga Rebels also managed to win their first round series against the fourth-seeded Mississauga Senators. They will take on the Jr. Canadiens in the second round.

The Toronto Marlboros, Mississauga Rebels, Jr.Canadiens, and Vaughan Kings have all clinched a spot in the OHL Cup. Stay up to date with all the latest scores and schedules from the Scotiabank GTHL Playoffs with our playoff tracker.

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