By Dan Pearce
The Voyageurs ventured to Trenton and emerged victorious from Community Gardens on Tuesday night. The Golden Hawks weren’t so golden.
The Hawks got off to a bad start in their first playoff game of the season against the Kingston Kimco Voyageurs with a 1-0 overtime loss. The series is now at 1-0 for the Voyageurs.
It was a battle between two goalies as the game was scoreless after three periods. Despite an onslaught of offensive pressure from the Hawks — they outshot the Voyageurs 48-37 — Voyageurs goalie Charlie Finn came out on top, saving everything the Hawks threw at him.
“We have a young team with a quiet confidence, and we believe in our goaltender,” said Kingston head coach Colin Birkas. “Finn has been doing a great job for us in the playoffs. You can’t say enough about him.”
Finn, who got his second shutout of the playoffs with an impressive 48 saves, received a much-deserved first star, while Hawks netminder Spencer Finney received the second star with 36 saves.
“It was all we could handle,” said Birkas. “It’s definitely a tall order for anyone in the league to go up against the larger and older Trenton team.”
The Hawks had plenty of opportunities and lots of close calls, but couldn’t find a way to get the puck by Finn.
“It’s pretty simple, if you don’t put the puck in the back of the net, you don’t deserve to win,” said Trenton coach Jerome Dupont.
A penalty early in the overtime period may be what led to the Vees victory.
Finn left his crease to retrieve a loose puck and Trenton’s Krystain Yorke made a break to challenge him for it. Finn fell to the ice and York was given a slashing penalty, giving the Vees a man advantage.
Less than a minute later Kyle Wilhelm shelved a one-timer pass from Steve McParland to give the Vees the win. Wilhelm received the third star for getting the OT game winner.
It was a surprising win for the Vees, who failed to win any of the six games they played against the Hawks during the regular season, including the Hawks’ last game less than two weeks ago.
The Vees were also playing their third road game in three days after defeating the defending Ontario Junior Hockey League champions, the Wellington Dukes, in the first playoff round.
The Hawks, who finished the regular season first in the Eastern division, received a first round bye.
The teams meet again in Kingston on Thursday at 7 p.m., and in Trenton on Friday at 7:30 p.m. to continue their best-of-seven playoff series.
Dupont said Trenton’s strategy heading into Thursday’s game is to “play good defensive hockey, like we did last night (Tuesday).”