Having split the first two games in Woolwich the Ravens returned home this past Friday and Saturday to host Woolwich in their barn.
A huge crowd turned out for game 3 Friday night to support the home town Ravens. The first two periods in this one would be a defensive struggle with the defensive pairing of Cole Grant and Ben Fuerth clearing the zone in an efficient manner. The construction crew of Ethan O’Neil, Sean Wilson and Jaclyn Weston would cause fits for the Woolwich forwards, back checking them all night long. Six minutes into the third Essex would open the scoring on a snipe wrist shot from Andrew Baker. Less than a minute later Woolwich would reply with a goal of their own however the Ravens weren’t going to let their fans down in this one. Reed VanderVecht would hold the team in this one until late in the third period. Face off in Woolwich Zone. Ten seconds left in the game. Tension fills the arena. Essex wins the draw, back to Braeden Cavanagh – quick shot – gooooooaaaaaaaaaalllllllll!!!! Essex wins 2-1 with 3 seconds on the clock to take a 4 points to 2 lead in the series.
Game two on Saturday had the Ravens excited yet cautious knowing Woolwich would play desperate facing elimination. A huge crowd was in attendance including the mayors of Essex and Cottam. The Ravens opened the game hustling and driving the net. Owen Sadler would open the scoring on a sweet shot following an unbelievable shift of back checking. Two minutes later Caleb Cavanagh would put the Ravens up 2-0 on a fine assist by Meredith Coulter from the corner. The second period would see end to end action with the Raven defensive pairing of Mason Ginter and Hudson Diemer holding the blue line and keeping the puck in the offensive zone time and again. Late in the second Sean Wilson would go top cheese to put the Ravens up 3-0. Unfortunately the Wildcats would respond with two quick goals of their own to close the second period 3-2 for the Ravens. The third period would see Woolwich score on a breakaway to even the score at 3-3. This one was heading to over time. The price of admission gets you a whole seat but you’ll only need the edge when watching this group of kids. Overtime would solve nothing, final score 3-3 – Ravens leading the six point series 5 points to 3.
With the tie the previous day the team was on the highway to Elmira early Sunday to hopefully finish off the series. Woolwich would open the scoring on a breakaway goal however the defensive pairing of Jesse Chadwick and Cade Smith would go in to shutdown mode and deny any further rushes. The second period was the time the line of Noah Martin, Andrew Baker and Braeden Cavanagh decided to take matters in their own hands. First a goal by Andrew Baker coming out from the corner to tie the score at one. Following a breakaway goal by Woolwich the line would answer again on another goal by Andrew Baker on a fine assist by Noah Martin to even the score again. This one was heading to overtime. Goalies Aiden Fick and Reed VanderVecht would get the fans in to this one in the break leading to the overtime – the Ravens were ready to finish this one off. Overtime would see no scoring with Essex controlling the play throughout the extra frame. Late in the period Ethan O’Neil would get the puck deep in the corner passing up an empty net goal knowing the Ravens only needed a tie to advance – final score 2-2 tie. Ravens advance winning the series 6 points to 4.
The Ravens now move on to the finals to face Barrie. The Ravens are battle tested having won series against Amherstburg, Riverside, St. Thomas, Grimsby and Woolwich. Team sponsor Art Vandelay is extremely proud of the team, noting they are fantastic representatives of his organization Vandelay Industries. The financial and morale support of Mr. Vandelay is much appreciated and solidifies the fact that company sponsorships are key to amateur sports.
Please check in to the EMHA website for game times as this amazing group of kids looks to bring back – to – back All Ontario championships to Essex.