Elite Amateur Sport Hockey Junior Leagues

City teams impress on Jr. A opening night

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By Dan Plouffe

Keenan Hodgson (left) was one of six goal scorers for the Nepean Raiders in their 8-2 season-opening victory over Smiths Falls. Photo: Dan Plouffe.

The Central Canada Hockey League 2011-12 season kicked off last night at the Kanata Recreation Centre and the three city teams put together solid debut performances.

Backstopped by 2011 Jr. B champion goalie Patrick Martin, the Cumberland Grads kicked things off with a 3-0 shutout victory over the Kemptville 73’s.

Eric Clitsome, Fabian Walsh and Jon Oake scored for the Grads, while defenseman Kevin Lough, a co-captain along with Kale Wild, added two assists.

“We had a good week of practice and with the number of returning guys we have, we expected a fairly stable game,” said Grads coach and general manager Paul Flindall. “The first 10 minutes is always a little bit rough because everyone’s nervous and excited to get going, but we seemed to calm down as the game went on and created more chances for ourselves.

“Overall, it was a good game.”

The Gloucester Rangers didn’t come away with any points, but their young lineup did gain a shot of confidence from a good performance in a 4-3 defeat to powerhouse Brockville. Jacob Jammes scored twice and Alexandre Boivin added one goal for Gloucester.

“I told the players we were behind them 100 per cent going into this game and we were confident that we would perform, but I was really ecstatic with our first outing,” said new Rangers coach Sylvain Favreau, a former assistant who takes over from Rick Dorval.

“A lot of the little details we worked on in training camp, they put in place,” Dorval said. “Brockville’s going to be top four again in this league this year, and we showed really well against them. It’s encouraging for us.”

It didn’t take long for the Nepean Raiders to fire on all cylinders, blasting the Smiths Falls Bears 8-2 in the final game of the showcase weekend opening night.

Mac Weegar had a pair of goals, and Jamie Olivier, Ryan MacLean, Keenan Hodgson and Michael Evelyn also scored, while captain Craig Cowie led the way with two goals and two assists.

“It’s definitely a good start,” Cowie said. “We’d worked a lot on speed in practice and I think it showed tonight. They couldn’t keep up with us, took penalties and we capitalized on the powerplay.

“Hopefully we keep it up. It’s only one game, but hopefully we keep it up for the full year.”

The hometown Kanata Stallions, who will also host the Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian championship in the spring, kick off their season today at 2:15 p.m. The other matchups today include Hawkesbury vs Pembroke, Ottawa vs Smiths Falls, Nepean vs Carleton Place and Gloucester vs Kemptville, while there are four more games on Sunday.

Check SportsOttawa.com throughout the week for more CCHL coverage.

See scores and stats here.

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