Pirates punch ticket to Tod Semi Finals with four game sweep of Rebels

Picton Pirates defenceman Cole Lavender embraces Brady Spry Tuesday after the goalie turned in a 35 save shutout to help close out the Campbellford Rebels 2-0. (Gazette Staff)

The Picton Pirates are pushing through to round two of the 2023 Schmalz Cup playoffs.

The locals kept up their stingy defence and solid team play without the puck on Tuesday night in a 2-0 shutout win over the host Campbellford Rebels in Game 4 of their Tod Division quarter finals series.

The win gave Picton a sweep of the Rebels in a series where the Pirates net minders Ethan Beattie and Brady Spry posted back-to-back road shutouts.

Spray made 35 saves in a winning effort Tuesday and, overall, the Pirates surrendered just three goals in four games.

“Play without the puck, team defence and play in our defensive zone are important in playoffs,” Pirates coach Kyle Hawkins Schulz said. “We did a good job limiting goals against and getting the puck back efficiently and  the blue line group was really strong in the series. Our goaltending has been the consistent throughout the year and was no different in round one.” 

Whether the Bucs wanted it or not, the club got in some work practicing their penalty kill down the stretch during Game 4.

Zack Brooks opened the scoring just 1:39  into the game, taking a Landon McLellan feed in the slot and beating Rebels starter Keaton Lyons five hole.

(Left) Picton’s Hosea Aculiak and (Right) Cole Stevenson congratulate Spry on his Game Four shutout. (Gazette Staff)

A little later, Ian Harrison would bag his second point of the period and second goal of the series when Trot Davis’s pass deflected off Harrison’s shin pad at 7:56 to make it 2-0 Picton.

After a Game 2 fracas that saw multiple suspensions handed out, the OHA officiating crew kept a tight lid on the action and Picton found themselves shorthanded six times over the final 40 minutes.

But Spry was more than solid in net and the blue line corps of Cole Lavender, Rhydan McCoy, Caleb Martin, Davis and Hunter Matthysse did yeoman’s work in keeping the Rebels at bay.

Despite being shorthanded for a good chunk of the game, Picton still managed 42 shots on Lyons who kept his club in the contest until the waning moments.

Despite missing a game in the series, McLellan led the way with six points in three games while rookie Gerrit Kempers lit the lamp five times to lead Picton’s goal parade.

While he was denied getting on the score sheet in Game 4, goal opportunities continued to come to the rookie’s line.

“Games this time of year are tighter, mistakes are magnified and opportunities are at a premium,” the coach added. “Offence comes in timely fashions and Kempers’s play in a pivotal Game 3 was just a continuation of his strong finish to the regular season.”

In three games, Spry had three wins, a Goals Against Average of 1.00 and a save percentage of .966. 

In the other series, the Port Hope Panthers look to close out the Frankford Huskies tonight at the Jack Burger Sports Complex in Game Five.

With the second round on hold until at least March 20, it looks as though the Pirates and the Amherstview Jets will get underway in Round Two some time mid week.

Details on the schedule for the second round will be posted here when they are finalized.