CALEDONIA — The McKinnon Park Blue Devils didn’t make it easy but they are once again are Haldimand Athletic Association Secondary School (HAASS) champions.
Hungry to successfully defend the title, McKinnon Park took control when on Wednesday March 4th at the Haldimand County Arena they jumped out to a 3-1 second period lead but needed a third period goal from Nathan Plummer to wrap up a 4-3 championship win against Dunnville.
“This is pretty cool,” Blule Devils Grade 11 defenceman Preston Hill said. “We moved the puck well and took lots of shots on net. This was more about having fun.”
Dunnville, who were riding the momentum of a semi-finals shootout victory against Hagersville, scored that pivital opening goal against the Blue Devils in taking a 1-0 lead heading to the second.
The Blue Devils stepped up the pressure by dominating in territorial play; they generated countless chances before being rewarded with three straight goals
Getting things started was forward Trent Randall who from the slot picked the top corner on a hard wrister for his first two which with eight minutes remaining in the first squared things up at 1-1.
Continuing to press, McKinnon Park were rewarded with two more goals from Randall with his second and a single from Jacob Tinebera as they were in control up 3-1 heading to what would be a real momentum swinging third.
“I was excited that we got the lead,” Hill said. When asked about what it would mean for his team to go on and win SOSSA, Hill commented, “It would be a pretty cool achievement.”
Dunnville wasn’t about to quit as they scored two in the third to set the stage for Plummer to make some school hockey history by coming back from injury abd with only 1:22 to go, score that Haldimand Athletic Association boys school championship winning goal.
Next step for the Blue Devils will be SOSSA.
“We had lots of shots. This is more about having fun, but I’m pretty excited,” Hill said.
Meanwhile the McKinnon Park Blue Devils girls came close but didn’t strike gold as they had lots of chances but fell short in Championship action by a 2-0 score against Cayuga.
“Winning the first game (against Dunnville) was a highlight,” Blue Devils Shay Martin said. “We had lots of scoring chances,”
Among those having great chances was forward Keloni Thomas whose best chance came when she was foiled on a second period breakaway.
“It’s tough. I was going to go to my backhand,” Thomas said about the breakaway. “They (Cayuga) outworked us and we didn’t come out strong in the first.”
Heading intp playoffs, the Blue Devils Girls had just clinched an undefeated regular season, and were on a mission to bring home gold.
‘They all knew that six girls (players) were gradulating and wanted to win for them and keep on playing (at SOSSA) next week,” Blue Devils Girls co-coach Dave MacDonald said. “Keloni showed leadership and really hustled all year. Shay is a Grade 9 and she is going to be a really good player. She has a great future for hockey. Alexis Hill is also a really good hockey player but couldn’t play because she was injured.”
Though the girls didn’t strike gold, McKinnon Park has reason to feel pride as they take home a gold in boys hockey and silver in girls which isn’t to shabby.