The Greater Kingston minor midgets are headed to the second round of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association AAA playoffs.
The junior Gaels beat the Peterborough Petes in their opening series, two games to nothing. The scores were 5-1 and 5-4.
“We’re playing some of our best hockey at the right time,” said coach Mat Goody.
“We’re playing with some confidence. The boys have won seven games in a row; we’re on a pretty good roll.”
The Brighton, Ont. native is no stranger to long playoff runs.
Goody guided the Port Hope Panthers to three consecutive Ontario junior C finals from 2015 to 2017.
Last year he was an assistant coach with the Napanee Raiders, who clinched the provincial junior C championship and the Clarence ‘Tubby’ Schmaltz Trophy.
“I felt it was time to return to my roots and coach minor hockey again,” continued Goody, who played junior A with the Trenton Sting.
“These kids are 15 years old and they’re very attentive. It’s a big year for them. Many hope to be drafted into the Ontario Hockey League.
“My message to them is a simple one: just come here and play hockey. It’s a team-first attitude. Everything else will fall into place as far as the OHL draft is concerned.”
One of those young OHL hopefuls is junior Gaels captain Jackson Barnes.
“All I can do is focus and improve on my game,” said the 15-year-old defenceman.
“If you perform well, the scouts will take notice. We’ve got a good team here and we’ve won seven games in a row. We’re on a roll as we go deeper into the post season.
“Our goal is to qualify for the OHL Cup in March.”
The junior Gaels will play the Whitby Wolves in round two of the playoffs.
The series begins on Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Iroquois Sports Complex in Whitby. Game two will be played Sunday, Feb. 9 at the Kingston Invista Centre at 2 p.m.