Tillsonburg Kinsmen Midget Tornadoes brought their A Game Wednesday night to sweep their six-point OMHA BB second round playoff series against Caledonia.
A group of Tornadoes’ fans brought the brooms.
“I heard, last year in the Caledonia arena – midget AE – all the kids were walking around with brooms,” said Kinsmen coach Taylor Ostermaier. “That’s why tonight all the kids brought brooms out, they got swept last year.”
“Last year, the AEs, they said there was at least 15 kids screaming ‘sweep,’” said Kinsmen goalie Patrick Tanner. “So this was revenge.”
“Painful when it happens to you though,” Kinsmen assistant coach Brandon Rohrer smiled, which prompted assistant coach Chad Barclay to bring up an old Aylmer-Norwich Jr C rivalry.
“We didn’t get swept,” Rohrer quickly countered. “It went to five.”
It took five games to get past Glanbrook in the opening round, but only three to dispatch Caledonia.
“The team played better, I thought,” said Kinsmen goalie Patrick Tanner after the sweep. “Caledonia was harder (than Glanbrook), but I think them staying off the ice for about a week-and-a-half might have hurt them a little bit.
“We won in overtime in Game 2 and tonight was pretty close. It was a physical series and I think we gained some momentum from it.
“Patric McElhone… he didn’t get a penalty tonight – I need to give a shout-out to Patric,” Tanner laughed.
Ostermaier and the rest of the Kinsmen coaching crew were proud of the team’s effort.
“They dug deep,” Ostermaier nodded. “There were times when I felt like they (Caledonia) were just coming at us. But we turned the intensity back up, we turned it around on them.”
With a 3-1 third period lead on Daniel King’s power-play goal, Tillsonburg didn’t sit back. They forced it deep, and hit Caledonia anywhere on the ice.
“That’s been our game plan all year, to get it deep and go hard them. Force them to make turnovers.”
Tillsonburg now moves on to the OMHA BB quarter-finals against St. Marys. Game 1 of the six-point series begins Wednesday in St. Marys. Game 2 is Saturday, Feb. 16 in Tillsonburg, 5:15 p.m., and Game 3 is back at St. Marys on Sunday, Feb. 17.
“This was a character win, they work for every inch they get, that’s for sure,” said Ostermaier, noting Caledonia finished first in their Southern Counties division ahead of Glanbrook, which gave the Thunder a first-round bye.
“Good on our group. You can never complain about this group’s work ethic – they’re a playoff team.”
Tillsonburg 4, Caledonia 1
Kinsmen scoring: 1. Austin Hentz (Troy Lamoure, Evan Derouck); 2. Kyle Sinden (Troy Lamoure); 3. Daniel King (Brandon Lawler); 4. Brandon Lawler EN (Daniel King).
“I think there’s always things you can fine tune,” said Ostermaier, looking ahead to quarters. “We’ve been stressing the same things all year. I think the last month or two they’ve been starting to buy in, and they’re seeing the results. They’ve all won at some point in their minor hockey careers. They know what it takes.”
Pretty much every years, said Tanner, the Tornadoes have met Caledonia in the first or second rounds. For Tanner’s age group, they only lost one of those series – in peewee – when Caledonia when all the way in BB.
“Our goal is to win OMHAs,” said Tanner. “I believe we can do it. We’re not as skilled as some teams, but we definitely work harder.
“We definitely have a very strong defence – our defence contributed offensively a lot. But our offence digs, so I think it balances out. We’re a pretty good all-around team.”
Both St. Marys and Dorchester have beat Tillsonburg this year, noted Tanner, but he felt the Kinsmen were confident they could win a series.