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The King City Lions took home the YRAA Tier 1 championship with a 3-2 win over St. Theresa of Lisieux on Thursday.
By Jake Courtepatte
The Lions' roar never faulted.
For only the third time in history, and the second time since the program started back up only a few years ago, the varsity hockey King City Lions are the York Region Athletic Association champions.
The Lions entered the post-season as the second-ranked team in the top-tiered division, finishing with a record of 4-1-1, two points back of St. Theresa of Lisieux.
As fate would have it, the two would match up in the championship series after each swept through their best-of-three semifinals. The Lions disposed of St. Brother Andre with 6-4 and 4-3 scores to reach their second final in as many years.
Carter Diceman played the role of most valuable player in securing the game-winning goal for the Lions in a 3-2 final, tipping in a shot from the point from Anthony Critelli. Lucas Ceccarelli and Pearce Baker also found the back of the net for the winning squad.
Anthony Santaguida was spectacular between the pipes in only allowing a pair of St. Theresa goals, while the Lions allowed only five total throughout the playoffs.
Both teams will hit the road later this month for the OFSAA championship: King City will sit in the AA division as a school with under 1,000 students, while St. Theresa will move to the AAA division with a population of 1,000-plus.
The Lions returned home with a silver medal from last year's OFSAA battle in Collingwood, finishing second in their pool before bending to Holy Trinity 7-3 in the championship game.
Lions head coach Brad Matwijec sees his group of veterans leading a similar charge to the final game.
“In last year's championship game we were gassed going in with our best defender out,” said Matwijec, pointing out the subtraction of Baker for the final tournament, who had decided to play junior A in his junior year. “As a Grade 12 player this year, he has fully committed to our program and has led a strong group of defenders.
“Add to this excellent goaltending and forwards who work as hard as defenders, you can see that this team is built to win in big games. I would not bet against this group of young men.”
This year's incarnation of the province's top tournament will run March 18-22 in Kincardine.
Excerpt: The Lions’ roar never faulted. For only the third time in history, and the second time since the program started back up only a few years ago, the varsity hockey King City Lions are the York Region Athletic Association champions.
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