Eganville – Calver Lumber captured a remarkable seventh straight Eganville Hockey League (EHL) title here Friday night, completing their three game sweep of the Barry’s Bay Bulls in the best-of five series with a 4-2 win.
Calver had a huge game from speedy Isaac Anderson, who recorded the hat-trick, scoring the team’s first, third and fourth goals.
Anderson staked his team to a 1-0 lead 1:44 into the opening period after Calver had applied heavy pressure on the Bulls from the opening face-off. Colin Bradbury had slid a pass to Anderson who made no mistake finding the twine behind Richard Barr in the Bull’s net.
That lead held up until the 12:37 mark of the second when Bailey Hein made it 1-1, tipping point shot past Troutman to even the score. It was Hein’s first game back after missing the opening two contests and his presence was missed in the earlier games.
Anderson added his second of the night, 1:21 into the third to put Calver up 2-1, again after the team had applied heavy pressure on the Bulls to start the period. Anderson had snuck in behind the Bulls’ defence and Steve Gilchrist fed him a perfect pass, sending him in alone to beat Barr with a low shot that found the mark. Riley Poirier stretched his team’s lead to 3-1 with what proved the game-winning goal at the 9:45 mark
Poirier, who was absent the first two games, beat Barr with a hard shot for the two-goal lead.
Bull’s forward Sam Schutt drew his team to within one of the lead with 2:16 to play, completing a nice rush up ice through a couple of Calver opponents, and buried a laser that beat Troutman to make the score 3-2.
Despite pushing hard, the Bulls failed to get the equalizer and Anderson sealed the win with an empty-net goal with .04 seconds to go, giving Calver the title. Riley Poirier got the puck off aa face-off and ed it over to Anderson who slid it into the empty cage.
Calver captain Steve Gilchrist said Friday’s win, the team’s seven consecutive EHL title, gives the team further recognition in EHL history.
“We definitely turned our team into a dynasty here,” he remarked. “Each year we pick up a couple key pieces to our team just to help out.”
The new recruits this year included Matt Johnson, who said can really work hard in the corners and has great shot; Andrew Chisholm, who he said was solid on defence, and goalie, Matt Troutman.
“We also had all the slack picked up by all our spares who would come out at any given night. We probably had a good group of three or four spares who ended up getting their games in and being eligible for the play-offs. That helped a lot.”
He credited Troutman for his solid goaltending as he moved up from his former back-up role with the team to become their number one when Matt Schroeder was unable to commit to the whole season.
Schroeder started game one of the finals and backstopped the team to a 5-4 overtime win, and Troutman was between the pipes in the next two games.
“So we had to find a goalie and that turned out well for us all year long,” he explained. “We only ended up losing one game all season.
“We’ve definitely just got a lot of good guys in the room,” he added. “Everyone’s just there to have fun on Friday nights and we usually end up winning to top off the night.”
Gilchrist said he felt confident with the only one loss all year, it would be tough for any team to beat them in thee games in the five-game final.
“Each week we can interchange four or five guys throughout the team and it doesn’t really affect the outcome to much,” he noted.
Gilchrist said the final was a relatively clean affair, with nota lot of infractions in the games.
“There was nothing that was too heated. You’re in the finals, you don’t want to be killing penalties most of the game.
“You want to try and keep it clean and keep five guys on the ice, so you’re playing even instead of killing,” he added.
He credited the Bulls for giving them a great series, noting they took Calver to overtime in the opening game before falling short.
“That was a close one, they were one bounce away. There were lots of chances in that game and it could have went either way, but we lucked out.
He said in Game two, they were up by four, then the Bulls got a couple, then Calver made it six, and the Bulls got two more to make the final 6-4.
“And Friday night, it was 1-1 going into the third, so if they hold us off and get a bounce, it’s really anyone’s game,” he remarked. “But with our experience and our systems we pulled through.”
Gilchrist noted the team had former player, Nick (Butch) Quenneville behind the bench for the final after they basically self-coached the team prior to that.
“We always like to have someone else make those decisions when they need to be made if we’re shortening the bench or if we have to set up a power play or something. It’s good to have someone from the outside to be able to make that call.
“He used to play for our team, he knows all about the league, and he knows all of the guys that play on our team,” he added.
Gilchrist acknowledged Sean Calver of Calver Lumber for his ongoing sponsorship of the team and his son, Drew, who looks after managing the squad each year.
Now 38, Gilchrist says he will definitely be back with Calver to defend their title next season.
“I think I’ve got a few years left at least,” he remarked.
He said it was really great to see the league operate again this year after missing last season due to COVID, even if it was down to just four teams.
“At least we were out there still playing. It was good seeing the amount of fans for the final too.”
He said he felt the other teams were definitely more competitive this year having picked up players from the teams that had not entered this year.