Back to Back MPHL Championships! Tigers Repeat In Impressive Fashion
A little more than twelve hours after punching their ticket to the MPHL final in quadruple overtime, the Ridley College Prep Hockey Tigers defended their 2018 crown and made it four championships in five years with a 3-0 shutout of Stanstead College in the 2019 final. Full story...
The Ridley College Prep Boys Hockey team are Midwest Prep Hockey League Champions again for the second year in a row and for the fourth time in the last five years. This year’s path to the final game was a little different for the Tigers. In each of the previous three championship runs, the orange and black had not been the favourite heading into the final weekend. This year, the team posted and impressive 12 win, two loss, two overtime loss record which placed them (by tie break in this very competitive league) as the number one seed heading into the championship weekend at the Harbor Center in Buffalo.
Game one saw the Tigers face play-in winner Shady Side Academy from Pittsburgh, PA. Ridley looked the number one seed in the first period jumping out to a 2-0 lead. But a resilient Shady Side found early momentum in the second and put the orange and black on their heels scoring three unanswered to take a 3-2 lead into the final stanza. Facing their first adversity of the weekend, the battle tested Tigers erupted with a five goal third period that included a natural hat-trick from senior Cameron Warren on route to a 7-3 victory and a berth in the semi-final.
Semi Saturday proved to be a Ridley hockey history maker. Facing Gilmour Academy from Gates Mills, Ohio, the Tigers found themselves down 2-0 midway through the second period to this dangerously skilled opponent. This time the rally started with a power play marker as Noah Sedore scored a momentum swinging goal with less than thirty seconds remaining in the second period. That was followed less than three minutes into the third by a Perttu Iso Kuortti marker that knotted the score at two. Deadlocked, what followed had never been experienced in the 120 years of the sport at our school. Gilmour and our Tigers played into a fourth overtime period before AJ Cook collected his own blocked shot rebound and beat the Lancers goaltender short side to end the longest game in school history and send the orange and black back to the MPHL Championship game. Matt Keeley made 42 saves in the historic victory.
Curious how our boys would respond a little more than 12 hours after this marathon, the Ridley faithful crossed the border and no doubt experienced a little déjà vu entering the Harbor Center as the match up for the 2019 Championship mirrored the 2018 final as Ridley would face Stanstead College from Quebec. The match that ensued was worthy of a battle between two of the best teams in Canada. Stanstead owned the territorial and shot advantage through the first period, but it became clear that if Tiger goaltender Keeley was able to see it, he was going to stop it. That reality sinking in for all in attendance, a defensive breakdown in the Spartan end saw Noah Sedore jump all over a juicy rebound and Ridley took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Reminiscent of the 2018 Championship game that ended in a 1-0 Ridley win, both teams traded scoring chances and odd man advantages, but no one could beat either goaltender. Desperate late, the Spartans pulled their goalie for the extra attacker. Outmanned and penned in their end, the hustle of the Tiger defenders ultimately produced a turnover that saw a Ridley two on one rush end with a Connor Childerhose one timer that all but sealed the championship celebration for the Tigers. A second empty net goal by sparkplug Cole Spencer, and the 3-0 result saw Ridley lift the Midwest Prep Hockey League Trophy for the fourth time in five seasons.
This incredible accomplishment is just the first step in a month long crescendo to the 2018-2019 season that will see the Tigers open up their CISAA title run with a best of three semi-final series starting with the opener Friday February 22nd at Tiger Arena against Nichols School from Buffalo. The season will ultimately conclude with the National Independent School Invitational Championship March 7-10th in Toronto. Go Blacks Go!!!