Hockey / BLADES PREPPING FOR TRIP TO NATIONALS

BLADES PREPPING FOR TRIP TO NATIONALS

Date:  Source: Ontario Junior A Hockey League

Mike Tarantino, Head Coach of the Oakville Blades, delivers a pregame speech during the Dudley-Hewitt Cup at the Tim Horton Events Centre in Cochrane, Ont. (Photo by Christian Bender / OJHL Images)

Don’t look now, but the Oakville Blades will need another gear.

Already a slick 20-3 in the postseason, the Ontario Junior Hockey League champions are en route home from Cochrane where they captured the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian title last night.

They’ll enjoy Monday off, before heading back to the home rink in Halton Region west of Toronto for a couple of practices.

The Blades fly out Thursday for Alberta and the national junior A championships in Brooks May 11-19.

The Blades, the host Brooks Bandits, Portage Terriers, Prince George Spruce Kings and Ottawa Jr. Senators will compete for the Canadian title, the former RBC Cup.

“I think we played pretty well,” said Blades head coach Mike Tarantino on the Sunday drive back from Northern Ontario. “We got better strategically as the week went on.”

The Blades went 4-0 at the tournament, including a 2-0 victory over the Hearst Lumberjacks in the championship tilt.

“But I think we still have another step to take in terms of getting better,” said Tarantino, the OJHL coach of the year.

In the OJHL playoffs, the Blades went 16-3, ousting Brampton, Buffalo, Markham and, in the league finals, the defending OJHL and Dudley-Hewitt champion Wellington. 

In the regular season, the Blades finished first in the West Division and tops in the League overall with 44 wins in 54 games. They were ranked third in the final country-wide rankings. Their 94 points was a franchise record.