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Trenton Golden Hawks and Cobourg Cougars to clash in semi-finals

By Bevan Hamilton  [1]

BELLEVILLE – Two of the top teams from the Ontario Junior A Hockey League [2] are set to go head to head in the semi-finals beginning Friday, in a series expected to be a battle of the little things.

The Trenton Golden Hawks [3] and Cobourg Cougars [4] are already division rivals, and this will be their second playoff series. Their only previous playoff series was in 2011, when Cobourg swept Trenton 4-0. They played five times in the regular season, with Trenton taking it three games to two.

Trenton won the East Division and was second-best overall in the OJHL.  Cobourg came in second in the East and was ranked fourth in the league.

Golden Hawks coach Jerome Dupont [5] said a lot of things need to go right, but he believes Trenton can win.

“If we compete, if we sacrifice, if we stick to the game plan, then I think we can beat them,” he said.

The third-year coach said the Golden Hawks need to play better defence and execute more on the power play and penalty kill than in Trenton’s opening-round series against the Wellington Dukes [6].

Dupont, a former NHL player with the Chicago Blackhawks [7] and Toronto Maple Leafs [8], said he believes the Golden Hawks are as good as Cobourg in all positions.

Connor Armour, captain and leading scorer of the Cougars, says the two teams match up well.

“I think we’re both bigger teams, good-skating teams. I think it’s going to come down to who makes the least mistakes and who plays the best away from the puck,” he said.

Armour, 20, said the Cougars need to be more prepared going into Round 2.

“The games are going to get tougher down the stretch. I just think we need to be more focused and prepared for the games.”

The Bowmanville resident is playing in his fifth season with Cobourg. He said the players’ disappointment from not moving past the second round in previous years is motivation for them.

“I think we’ve learned from that, and you remember the feeling. It’s a bitter taste for sure. Obviously you don’t want to repeat those same emotions.”

The Cougars have made the playoffs in five consecutive seasons, but have never advanced past the second round.

The series begins in Trenton on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. It starts as the Cougars are in the spotlight over allegations that some of their players were at a party at which sexual assaults allegedly occurred [9]. No charges have been laid and the allegations haven’t been proven. The OPP are investigating.