Pembroke Lumber Kings Capture Fred Page Cup
Sunday, April 24, 2011
The Pembroke Lumber Kings won't have long to bask in the glory of Sunday's Fred Page Cup eastern Canadian Junior A hockey championship victory.
Pretty soon they'll be heading to Alberta to play for a national championship.
"The guys obviously were happy and came off the bench and did the traditional celebration, but it wasn't long before everything settled in," coach and general manager Sheldon Keefe said via telephone from Terrebonne, Que., where the Lumber Kings had defeated Collège Français de Longueuil 6-3 in the Fred Page Cup final.
"Winning the tournament is almost like winning a playoff round. You get ready for the next one. We're hoping for the opportunity to party in style in Alberta."
The Lumber Kings scored three goals in the first eight minutes of the second period to take a 5-2 lead, and Collège Français was never able to catch up.
Jonathan Milley, who was later named the tournament's most valuable player, scored two goals and set up two more for the Lumber Kings.
Matthew Peca added a goal and two assists, with other Pembroke goals by Kyle Just, Brandon Gagne and Tyler Tosunian.
Yannick Geoffrey scored twice for Longueuil, with the other goal by Victor Beaulac.
The Lumber Kings' triumph was even more remarkable given that injuries and a college-eligibility issue rendered them four players short for most of the tournament, with only one of the injured returning for Sunday's game. They almost lost Milley, too, after he was slashed and sent to the hospital with an upper body injury Friday.
Fortunately nothing was broken.
"(Milley) was outstanding. He really made a difference this week," Keefe said. "Those are the kind of stories that come with earning championships. You always have players like that, that step up when there's every reason to quit. You have guys that suck it up. That's how you win."
The Lumber Kings, winners of the past five Central Canada Hockey League titles, have most of this week to rest before heading to the RBC Cup for the first time since 2007. Next Sunday they'll face the western Canadian representatives. That will be either the La Ronge Ice Wolves or the Portage Terriers, who met in Game 7 of the Anavet Cup on Sunday night.
The five-team field will also include the Wellington Dukes, winners of the Dudley Hewitt Cup central Canadian title, the host Camrose Kodiaks and either the Spruce Grove Saints or Vernon Vipers, who played the finale of the Doyle Cup Pacific region qualifier on Sunday night.
Keefe said it was hard to know what to expect since the Lumber Kings would be up against new opponents.
"We just want to go there, put our best foot forward and see what we can get done," he said. "Certainly we go there with the intention of winning."
By CLAIRE BROWNELL, The Ottawa Citizen