GRAVENHURST — The Muskoka Anglers need the luck of the Irish this afternoon at home (Sunday at 2:30 p.m.) if they want to keep alive their championship hopes alive in the Canadian Premier Junior Hockey League.
A 6-1 loss in Angus last night (Saturday) to the defending champion Essa Stallions puts the Gravenhurst team down a game in the best-of-three championship series.
After sweeping the Seaforth Generals and Grey Highlands Hawks two games each in quarter-final and semifinal series, the Muskoka team entered the final with confidence.
But they gave up two goals in the first period and another in the second to trail 3-0, before Cameron Murray got them on the scoreboard and back in the game late in the second at the 17:59 mark.
His goal meant the visitors needed at least two more to tie the game, stout defence against the Stallions and at least one more to win.
However, the Herd added three more late in the final frame to show why they finished atop the standings with 79 points.
And Gravenhurst’s hopes were finally dashed when things got testy late in the game with 20 seconds left and their lone goal-scorer Murray was assessed a 10-minute misconduct, along with the Stallions’ Austin Gilmore.
Gravenhurst took more penalties (6-4) but for all the goals the teams were at even strength.
Tim Holmstom had two goals for Essa, Parker Stewart, Doug Ledger, Austen Lucas and Jared Weatherbee with 50 seconds to go rounded out scoring for the winners.