Centennials battle back to win Schmalz Cup

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Sports

The Ayr Centennials have won a second straight Schmalz Cup.

The Centennials clinched the Provincial Junior Hockey League championship Friday night with a Game 6 win over the Port Hope Panthers.

While Ayr was hardly a long shot to win the provincial title this season after a regular season record of 37-3, the Centennials looked to be in tough against Port Hope in the early going of this championship series. The Panthers, the best of the PJHL’s Eastern Conference, hammered Ayr 8-1 in the opening game of this series and then followed that up with a 4-1 win in Game 2 to take a commanding lead in the best-of-seven.

However, the Cents turned things around with a 4-2 win in Game 3 and tied the series with a 3-1 win in Game 4. Ayr had the momentum, and they didn’t look back. They took Game 5 3-1 and then wrapped things up last Wednesday night at home with a 6-3 win over Port Hope.

The Panthers had advanced to the finals with a five-game series win over the Alliston Hornets, while Ayr battled it out with the Essex 73’s for seven games. The Mount Forest Patriots, champions of the PJHL’s Pollock Division, were eliminated by Alliston in the Schmalz Cup quarter-finals. No team from the Pollock Division, formerly known as the Western Junior C League, has won the Schmalz Cup since the Hanover Barons did so in 1991.

- Josh Howald