Timing is everything for the Powassan Voodoos lately. After losing five of their last six games to end the regular season, the NOJHL club has bounced back in a big way by picking up back-to-back road wins over Hearst.
“We played hard throughout our last five games or so even though we lost five in a row down the stretch before winning our last one, "says Head Coach Peter Goulet.
The two wins have put the Powassan Voodoos in a really good position in their best of seven first round series against the Lumberjacks. A few weeks ago, not many people would have thought the Voodoos would be able to split the first two games of the series as a long list of injuries during the latter stages of the year was a big concern going into the post-season, but a healthy team has proven to be a tough and resilient team.
“As far as the injuries go, it doesn’t matter what level you’re at, when you go through injuries like we did, it is tough to find that same chemistry and the last five weeks we had no more than 15 or 16 guys practicing on the ice. It’s tough to run a Jr. A practice like that,” says Goulet.
“We stuck together, we played hard every night, we had each other's backs and we got through it in time for the playoffs,” says Goulet.
The Voodoos entered the series as the lower seed, finishing third in the division and 13 points behind the highest scoring team in the NOJHL during the regular season. But the Voodoos have kept that scoring touch at bay through the first two games, picking up an 8-4 victory in game one and a narrow 4-3 win in game two.
"It’s great to be healthy and we just have to keep our feet on the ground and take nothing for granted as we have a lot of work to do.”
The Voodoos will host games three and four on Tuesday and Wednesday (March 28th and 29th respectively) and will look to keep their strong defensive efforts going, led by Kannon Flageolle in net, who has stopped 75 shots over the course of the first two games, while offensively the full-team approach that worked in the regular season has continued into the post season. Nine different players have registered goals and 16 have found their name on the scoresheet. Chase Strychaluk leads with four points (all assists) and was named as one of the NOJHL’s three stars of the week for his efforts. Captain Alex Little and Rhys Smetham each have two goals and three points, while Mitch Wilkie joins them with three assists.
Goulet says the team has had to go through the adversity of playing shorthanded and he’s hoping that experience will pay off as the post-season continues.
“I think it shows the character and the backbone of your hockey team. To go through that and have the guys stay as positive as they did, not get down and not get on each other is a credit to the team and it shows the bond we have on our team.”