WOAA Sr. AA PLAYOFFS – South Division Final
Komoka Classics vs. Tavistock Royals
Game Five (if necessary): Saturday March 30th 7:15pm in KOMOKA
Game Six (if necessary): Sunday March 31st 8:30pm in Tavistock
Game Seven (if necessary): Tuesday April 2nd 7:30pm in ILDERTON
Game One: March 16th KOMOKA 4 TAVI 3 (OT)
Game Two: March 17th TAVI 2 KOMOKA 1
Game Three: March 22nd TAVI 4 KOMOKA 1
Game Four: March 23rd KOMOKA 4 TAVI 3
Classics look good against Tavistock
They were built for a run at the WOAA senior AA hockey crown and so far the Komoka Classics have been as impressive as a 1957 Thunderbird.
Winners of 21 of 24 regular-season games and eight of nine playoff contests, the Classics take on the Tavistock Royals in the best-of-seven South Division final starting Saturday night in Komoka. The Classics haven’t been this deep in the playoffs since 2010, when as the Lucan-Ilderton Jets they lost in seven games to the Petrolia Squires in the division final.
“This is by far the best team we’ve ever iced,” Classics GM Rob Andrews said Wednesday. “This will be a team that decides its own fate. Both teams are based on skill and goaltending and it should be a really good series. We know Tavistock has guys who can score and it’s going to come down to who’s the most disciplined and who takes advantage of their chances.”
A balanced attack is one reason the Classics were the clear front-runners in the division. Ryan Stephenson tied for the division scoring lead with 54 points on 23 goals and 31 assists, but 18 other Komoka players finished in double digits in points.
“We don’t have a set power play, we don’t have a set penalty-kill,” Andrews said. “We’ve been able to roll through every line and pull two forwards to play on the PK and that’s a luxury in iteself.”
Goalies K.J. Robinson (9-1, 1.79 goals-against average) and former London national Mike Coulter (12-2, 2.83) give Komoka a pretty solid 1-2 tandem, with Coulter carrying the load of late as Robinson nurses an injury. But it’s on the blue-line where the Classics have shown the greatest improvement. Led by captain Ryan Hladyniuk and featuring the likes of former London Knights Adam Nemeth and Mike Noyes, the unit has become another vital asset.
“In the past, our defence has always been our weakness because we could always score,” Andrew said, adding experience and depth also factor heavily into the Classics’ success. “These guys have all been in big games (in junior or university) and they thrive on big games. That’s what we saw against Monkton (in the semifinal). And the young guys who are in their second year with us now know what it’s about and know they can play with men.
“The last time we got this far, we ran into injuries, but we’ve got healthy scratches now who would be on the first or second lines with other teams. The guys have bought in to the idea that it may be their turn to sit out and that’s OK with them.”
There is a dark cloud of sorts looming on the horizon, however. Should the Classics make it to the WOAA final against either Elora or Saugeen Shores, they may not be able to play any home games in Komoka.
“We’ve got the first Saturday in April (the 6th) and then we’ve got nothing,” Andrews said, citing the spring ice schedule at the arena that includes three-on-three hockey and Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs tryouts. “I’ve been calling Dorchester, everywhere. I’ve even tried to get afternoon ice on the weekends. But they’re running a business, too, and they’ve treated us very well.”
— — —
KOMOKA VS. TAVISTOCK
Best-of-seven WOAA senior AA hockey South Division final
Schedule: Saturday at Komoka, 7:15 p.m.; Sunday at Tavistock, 8:30 p.m.; March 22 at Tavistock, 7:30 p.m.; March 23 at Komoka, 7:15 p.m.; x-March 30 at Komoka, 7:15 p.m.; x-March 31 at Tavistock, 8:30 p.m.; x-April 2 at Komoka, 7:15 p.m. (x — if necessary)
Regular season: Komoka 21-2-1 (first), Tavistock 15-5-4 (third)
Season series: Komoka won 2-1
How they got here: Komoka def. Thedford 4-0 in QF, def. Monkton 4-1 in SF; Tavistock def. Milverton 4-1 in QF, def. Petrolia 4-1 in SF