SPECIAL TO THE BANNER
The Bantam AE Cyclones have won the OMHA championship by beating the Dorchester Dragons in five hard-fought games.
Their quest for the crown began with a series against Goderich. Listowel came out flying, but were stymied by a hot goaltender. They were down two games to zero and facing elimination. But they pulled out a never-quit attitude in game 3 for a 3-0 victory and were back in the series. That was followed by two dominating performances, beating Goderich 5-1 and 6-0, to take the WOAA title.
In the quarter-finals, the Cyclones faced the Collingwood Blackhawks. Listowel took the first two games with scores of 4-1, and had a chance to win the series on home ice. But they came out flat in game 3 and were handed a 3-0 loss. In Collingwood for game 4, they knew they needed to play a full 45 minutes and they did – scoring in the first 30 seconds, cruising to a 5-2 decision.
In the semifinals, Listowel came up against the Huntsville Otters. After winning the flip, they had the first two games in Listowel. Game 1 saw the Huntsville team come out flat with “bus legs” and the Cyclones filled the net with an 8-2 victory.
In game 2, Listowel was full of confidences, but saw the Otters come with more intensity, keeping the game close. But the Cyclones sill won, 4-2.
Game 3 had the local team heading to Huntsville, only one game win away from the finals. Listowel didn’t disappoint and they were up 4-0 six minutes into the game, cruising to a 7-1 victory and a sweep of the Otters.
The finals pitted Listowel against the Dorchester Dragons. Game 1 was an exciting game that saw both goaltender make some outstanding saves, keeping it close. The Cyclones took a 3-2 lead in the final minute and they played great defence to hold on for the victory.
Game 2 was much the same, with back-and-forth action that saw Listowel squeak by for another one-goal win, with a score of 4-3.
Heading back to Dorchester for game 3, with a chance to clinch the title, Listowel had a two-goal lead for the first time in the series, ahead 5-3 with eight minutes left in the game. But the Dragons wouldn’t give up and roared back to tie it at 5 each. Despite a dominating overtime performance by Listowel, the game ended in a tie.
Game 4 was played in Listowel, with the home town crowd cheering on the team. They only needed a tie the clinch the title, but they came out a little flat. They picked up momentum and found themselves in another tight game. Down 2-1, Listowel fought back and tied it 2-2, with less then three minutes left on the clock. It looked like overtime was in the cards agin, only to have Dorchester score the winner 20 seconds later and then add an empty netter for a 4-2 victory.
It was back to Dorchester for game 5 on Easter Sunday for Listowel. The Dragons came out flying and dominated the first period, taking a 1-0 lead. The second period saw a complete turnaround, the Cyclones leading, 3-1. Dorchester closed the gap 3-2, but the Cyclones shut them down, killing off a penalty in the final two minutes, scoring an empty netter to clinch the championship, 4-2.