Oakville Tigers charge toward Challenge Cup

By Robert Chalupny

The Oakville Senior High School Tigers varsity hockey squad will skate into the playoffs with some momentum coming off the heels of a 9-1 victory over Parkway South.

The Tigers ended the regular season winning their division undefeated at 8-0-2, with an overall record of 15-3-3.

Tigers head coach Derek Stephens, who is in his sixth year with Oakville and his second as the head coach, said “absolutely” this is the best spot any of his teams have been in heading into the playoffs.

“I am really proud of our team this year and how we ended the regular season. I think we are at a point where what we expected from them and what we are seeing are, we are starting realize our potential,” Stephens said, “and I think this a great group, and they have the chance to do something really special in the playoffs.”

In the season finale Saturday, the Tigers got goals from eight players, including Brendan Nichting, his eighth and ninth of the season; Troy Korte, eight this year; Chad Parks, four on the season; Lance French, eight this year; Zachary Mitchell, four this season; Charles Freshman, eight on the season; Joey Guy, two this year; and Benjamin Seah, one this season.

Goaltender Blake Chapman had a strong performance as he stopped 20 of 21 shots in the contest, improving his record to 3-2-2 with a .871 save percentage.

Chapman is the Tigers No. 2 goalie who has been backing up Zachary Jost all season.

Jost, who is 12-1-1 with a .917 save percentage, recently suffered a thumb injury but is healthy and returned to action Jan. 26 but sat out the Saturday’s game to rest for the upcoming playoffs.

“Blake had a great game,” Stephens told the Call. “He does a great job. He’s a great backup goaltender.”

The Tigers will spend the week getting ready to for their first opponent in the Challenge Cup.

The Challenge Cup format consists of 16 teams. Each series consists of two games. If a team wins both games they advance. If two teams split, at the end of the second game there is a 10 minute overtime, which is not sudden death. It’s like a mini game. If the teams are tied after that there is a second overtime and then it goes to shootouts.

“We are just excited to get the playoffs started and see what we can do,” Stephens said.

The Tigers will begin competing in the Challenge Cup today — Feb. 2.