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Local roundup: Maroons eye title; Park chases Cup; Blades keep Paxton

The Chatham Maroons will try to end their 16-year championship drought when they host the Leamington Flyers on Saturday.

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Maroons excited for shot at title

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The Chatham Maroons will try to end their 16-year championship drought when they host the Leamington Flyers on Saturday.

The third-seeded Maroons own a 3-2 lead in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s best-of-seven Western Conference final.

“We’re excited about the opportunity that is ahead of us on Saturday,” Maroons head coach and general manager Tyler Roeszler said. “We have been preparing for this game all year long.”

Roeszler was a player on the last Maroons team to win the Western championship in 2006. That was their third straight conference title and seventh in nine years.

Saturday’s game is at 3 p.m. at Chatham Memorial Arena. The box office opens at 2 p.m.

Tickets cost $13 for spectators 12 and older and $5 for children from four to 11 years old.

If the top-seeded Flyers stave off elimination, then Game 7 will be at 7:10 p.m. Sunday at the Nature Fresh Farms Recreation Centre in Leamington.

The Maroons are 7-0 at home in the playoffs.

Park playing at Centennial Cup

Defenceman Alexander Park of Chatham will play with the Ottawa Jr. Senators at the Centennial Cup, the Canadian junior A hockey championship.

The eight-team tournament will run from May 19 to 29 in Estevan, Sask.

Kyle Makaric, a former Chatham Maroons player and head coach, is the head coach of the Jr. Senators.

Park, 18, became a mainstay on the Jr. Senators’ blue-line at mid-season after being their sixth or seventh defenceman for the first half.

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“When we came back for the second-half we had a little bit of a shakeup on D,” he said on the team’s website. “I realized that I needed to be one of those strong defensively, hard-hitting defencemen – someone the coaches could rely on in our own zone and not too focused on offence.”

The former Chatham-Kent AAA Cyclone had three goals and seven assists in 45 regular-season games with the Jr. Senators.

He added five assists in 13 playoff games as they captured the Central Canada Hockey League championship.

Paxton returns as Blades coach

The Blenheim Blades have announced Ryan Paxton will remain head coach next season after taking over on an interim basis during this year’s post-season.

Paxton was promoted from assistant coach when head coach Brett Hope resigned before the Provincial Junior Hockey League’s Tier II playoffs.

Lonnie Hamilton and Shawn Simpson will be the Blades’ assistant coaches next season.

The Blades placed sixth in the Stobbs Division regular season with a 14-18-0-0 record. They lost to the Mooretown Flags in a five-game quarter-final, then went 3-6 overall in the Tier II playoffs.

Lancers leading soccer leagues

Sadie Pratt scored in the Ursuline Lancers’ 1-0 win over the Chatham-Kent Golden Hawks in the LKSSAA senior girls’ soccer league Friday.

The Lancers lead the AAA division with a 5-1-0 record for 15 points. They’re two points ahead of the second-place Northern Vikings (4-1-1), who beat the St. Patrick’s Fighting Irish 13-0.

The Golden Hawks (3-2-1) are third with 10 points.

In the senior boys’ league, Ursuline (6-0-0) moved into first in the AAA division with a 7-0 win over Wallaceburg.

Lambton-Kent beat Chatham Christian 2-1.

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