Coaches don’t usually hope their teams lose, but that’s what Rick H. Moser was doing while his Major Midgets went 27-0-1 in the regular season.
It’s not that Moser wanted his team to crash and burn, but he would have liked them to experience a setback or two before they hit the playoffs.
“It’s tough when you keep winning every game,” Moser said. “I think it’s good to get some adversity sometimes too.”
The Major Midgets advanced to the OMHA championships after finishing off Southpoint last weekend.
The team went 6-0 in round robin play and took out Brampton three games to one in the quarter-finals. In the semi-finals, Woolwich built up a two-game lead before the series moved to Southpoint, where they promptly lost two in a row.
“Usually [the clincher] is the toughest game to win, but we didn’t play well at all,” Moser said.
Back on home ice, the Midgets fought their way back into it and posted a 2-0 shutout.
“One of the parents from Southpoint came up to me after the game on Sunday and shook my hand and said ‘your guys never quit,’ and to me that’s the biggest compliment,” Moser said. “We had a couple of bad games down in Southpoint, but when it’s on the line, they showed up and they don’t quit. That’s what’s great about these guys.”
The boys will have their work cut out for them in the final; they’ll be facing NobleKing, a team that swept the first four rounds of the playoffs.
Woolwich hasn’t played NobleKing before, but they have played Cobourg, the team NobleKing beat in the semi-finals, and they were fairly evenly matched.
Moser coached some of the team last year when they were in their first year of Midget, and some of them two years ago, when he coached Minor Midget.
Two years ago, they won the OHMA championship and last year they lost in the final game.
“For maybe six or seven of them, this is the third year in the row they’ve been in the finals,” he said.
With some veteran leaders, steady goaltending and a solid defensive line, it’s a total team effort, Moser said.
“I think [the semi-finals] are the perfect example, when you have you have 10 people score goals and you have 15 skaters, that’s pretty good. We get contributions from everybody.”
Woolwich lost the toss, so they’ll be starting the series in NobleKing tomorrow (Mar. 15) and returning home Mar. 21.
“If we get our line matchups, we’ll be fine,” Moser said. “That was the key with Southpoint, we won all our games at home because we got the last change and we could match up who we wanted to have on the ice. That should be a challenge, but we’ll play our best and see what happens.”