The Vets win back to back and take the series against The Norwich Merchants and advance to the Semi-Final.
WOODSTOCK - The Woodstock Navy Vets have some celebrating to do. The Vets have won their series in the PJHL Doherty Division Quarter Final against Norwich.
The Vets travelled to Norwich on Friday night, they took a 6-2 lead into the 3rd period and held on for a 7-5 win to take a 3-1 QF series lead. Kyle Walker led the Vets with two goals and one assist, Matt Zilke also had 2 goals while Dylan Wettlaufer put one in the net and also had an assist. Picking up the other goals for the Vets, Troy Vandenbussche put one on the board and Jared Prekup got an empty-netter. Quick in the net, Mike Harrison faced 30 shots.
When play resumed back on Vets home ice, Austin Sine entered the Navy Vets history books as a playoff hero when he scored at 3:39 into the 2nd OT period to give the Vets a thrilling 3-2 victory and a 4-1 series win over long time rival The Norwich Merchants.
Norwich originally had a 1-0 lead into the 3rd period, Justin Elms scored on the overplay and then Kuris Christo shorthanded scored within 2 minutes midway thru the 3rd period to give the Vets the lead. With the Merchant's goalie pulled and on the bench for an extra attacker, Norwich came back and tied the game with 39 seconds left to force OT.
Both the teams went end to end in the 1st OT period, forcing the goalies (Keaghan Brett of the Vets and Tyler Gubesch of the Merchants) to make several incredible saves to keep the game going, forcing a second OT and rolling out the red carpet for Sine's heroic game winner.
Vets President, Devon Young doesn't take it lightly that they came away on top.
"There's no easy games, we knew that every game we played against Norwich in the regular season was a touch test, I'm just glad to see that we came out on top and we did get back to playing our game a little more on the weekend, than we had prior and I'm just happy to see that everything has worked out."
It was the 3rd overtime game of the series which was another classic playoffs series in the long history of the two Oxford County rivals.
The Vets move on to the semifinals for the 1st time since the 2010 season when they had a 1st round bye. This is their 1st playoffs series win since the 2009 playoffs when they beat New Hamburg in the 1st Round.
Now that the Vets have got past Norwich, Young says they have a lot of work ahead still.
"It's a get back to work mentality, we have got about a week off here, and were gonna have a tough test, regardless of who we play in the second round. We just want to make sure that we are not sitting here thinking that we have just accomplished all our goals by winning the first round, we want to go a bit further."
Tavistock currently leads New Hamburg 3-1 in their QF series and a Braves win would set up another Battle of Highway 59 series, this time with the Vets northern rivals. If Tavistock wins, they will host the Vets in a best of 7, should New Hamburg win, the Vets will host the Paris Mounties. Paris just came off a 4 game sweep against the Wellesley Applejacks.
Young believes some of the success the team is experiencing is a partly thanks to the veteran players and hard work.
"Some of these guys have been here for three, four, five years, and there were some tough times, coming through and they never give up, they came to practice every single night, they kept working hard, and to see it coming all together like it has it is a testament to them not giving up and them continuing to respect the process and that's what is making everyone better each and every day. I'm happy for these guys."
The Vets will now wait to find out who their Semi-final opponent will be. Tavistock hosts New Hamburg for game #5 in the series on Wednesday at 7:30pm.