by Gary Ahuja, Langley Events Ctr

The Orangeville Northmen are through to the Minto Cup best-of-five championship series after a perfect 3-0 round-robin record. The team beat the Okotoks Raiders 11-4 in Sunday's game. Garrett James photo

The Orangeville Northmen will play for the Minto Cup. Their opponent remains to be determined.

The Northmen, champions of the Ontario Junior A Lacrosse League, earned their spot in the best-of-five championship series with an 11-4 victory over the Okotoks Raiders on the final day of round-robin play at the 2019 Minto Cup Junior A National Championship at Langley Events Centre on Sunday.

After playing three games in as many days, the 3-0 Northmen now get a pair of days off before the championship series begins on Wednesday night.

For the second straight game, the Orangeville Northmen used a dominant second period to break open a tie game.

On Saturday, the Northmen used an 8-2 spurt to pull away from the Coquitlam Adanacs. Sunday’s middle stanza was not as explosive, but they did still score six while surrendering just one goal to snap a 2-2 tie on their way to an 11-4 victory.

“Give them credit, (Okotoks) played hard. The second period, we stuck with it and our shots started falling and we were able to go on a run,” said Northmen assistant coach Rusty Kruger.

Northmen captain Zack Deaken said the second period has been the team’s best all season, and the numbers would back that up.

“All year it has been like we come out with a shaky start, but the second period, we just blow up,” he said. “It has been like that since day one.”

Through 20 regular season games and another 14 OJALL playoff contests, the Northmen outscored their opponents by 50 goals over those second periods. By comparison, their combined goal differential in the first period was +26 while in the third period and overtime, the Northmen finished +9.

Against the Raiders, Jonathan Donville led the charge.

Already the leading scorer through two games, Donville added another five goals and nine points, giving him nine goals and 20 points.

Dylan Watson chipped in with a pair of goals and six points while Ty Thompson, Mike McCannell, Jordan Caskanette and Curtis Butka each scored once.

Goaltender Rylan Hartley made 43 saves on 46 shots before exiting the game with just under seven minutes to play.

The Raiders twice led in the game, 1-0 and 2-1, but scored just two goals over the final 50:18.

“They do a really good job of taking the game down to the pace they want to play at. They control the tempo, their offence is very controlled and they know exactly where they want to put the ball and what they want to do with it,” said Okotoks coach Jesse Fehr. “They just did a better job of finishing than we did tonight.”

Ethan Landymore had two of the goals with Myles Hamm and Zach Mantei each scoring once. Marshall Bloomfield finished the game with four assists.

Jackson Brown made 41 saves as his team was outshot 52-44.

Bloomfield was the Okotoks player of the game while Donville earned the honour for Orangeville.

The Raiders have earned a spot in Monday's semifinal, against either Victoria or Coquitlam.

“It is one of those things where at the beginning of the year, if you told your team that you had a one-game playoff to go and have a chance to play in a Minto Cup final, anyone would take that opportunity," Fehr said, "That was our goal to make that game and then take it from there.”