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5. Interlock Division Joins Junior C – With the merger of the SOJHL stepping from Junior D into the Junior C league, the Great Lakes Junior C hockey league started Interlock games against these teams. This season, only three teams played interlock games, but next year, each team in the Great Lakes will face a home and home against SOJHL teams. This year, Mt Brydges, Port Stanley, and North Middlesex played 6 games against Great Lakes teams, finishing winless with a combined 0-4-1-1 record.
4. The Miraculous Laine Parent – No goalie faced more rubber in the final weeks of the season than Kingsville’s Laine Parent. In four playoff games, he faced an average of 56.25 shots per game, including an 80 save performance in a game one overtime loss. It was also Parent’s performance, winning his final four starts of the season, which allowed the Kingsville Comets to pass the Wallaceburg Lakers, who looked like a lock, for the final playoff spot.
3. 73s Dominate – Essex finished the season with a 32-6-0-2 record in the regular season, which included a 14 game winning streak which spanned from October 30 until December 14. Through 40 games this season, the Essex 73s only allowed 89 goals, the only team in the league to allow less than 100. In the opening rounds of the playoffs, Essex easily swept both Kingsville and Dresden to advance to the Great Lakes final. Essex players also took five of seven major awards.
2. Essex vs. Wheatley – The were two of the best teams all season, so finding them matched up in the Great Lakes Junior C final, seemed obvious. Many compare these two teams skill level to those of local Junior B teams. Essex defeated Kingsville and Dresden to reach the Great Lakes finals, while Wheatley ousted Mooretown and Belle River.
1. Tyler Clarke’s TSN Goal – Also our overall Chatham-Kent highlight of the year, Tyler Clarke‘s incredible goal early in the season against Mooretown, landed itself on highlight shows across the planet. It was a topic of discussion for weeks on TSN and Twitter. Later, TSN would send a crew to film with the Blenheim Blades and Clarke, and Clarke’s goal ended up at #5 on TSN’s yearly highlight countdown.