2023 centennial cup collingwood blues
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Road to the 2023 Centennial Cup: Collingwood Blues

A defence-first mentality combined with a balanced offence and standout goaltending pushed the Blues to their first National Junior A Championship

Nicholas Pescod
|
May 7, 2023
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Defence. That’s what allowed the Collingwood Blues to capture their first-ever Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) championship and by extension a berth in the Centennial Cup.

“We put a big emphasis on our defensive abilities all season long. We know that defence wins championships,” says Blues head coach Andrew Campoli. “We wanted to make sure that we moved in our defensive zone as a five-man unit. We put a big emphasis on that.”

How good was Collingwood defensively? Well, the Blues managed to give up 113 goals on the season, good for second in the OJHL and just 25 in the postseason, the lowest of any team that played six games or more. And they didn’t allow a single shorthanded goal during the playoffs.

Another interesting fact. Not a single Blues player ranked in the top 10 in goals or points during the regular season and yet they managed to go 44-9-0-1, good enough for second in the OJHL, before a 16-2 run in the playoffs.

The cornerstone for Collingwood’s rock-solid defence was netminder Noah Pak. The Oakville, Ont., native and Yale University commit was an absolute stud in the regular season — he had a league-leading 29 wins — and was even better in the playoffs, posting a 16-2 record, 1.37 goals-against average and .947 save percentage.

“Noah is probably one of the fiercest competitors that I've ever seen. He comes every day to work like it is his last day. He battles hard at practice and he competes hard in games,” says coach Campoli. “He's a heck of a teammate, a fierce competitor and somebody who is really the backbone of our team all year.”

In order to win hockey games, you have to score goals and the Blues were not only able to do that when it mattered most but they were also able to spread the offence around. Bryce Sutherland and Cam Garvey led the charge offensively during the regular season with 69 and 64 points respectively, but it was forwards Dylan Hudon and Mark McIntosh and defenceman Ayden Dooley who were the top three point-getters for Collingwood in the playoffs.

“Having a really balanced lineup and the depth that we have only helped us get to where we want it to get to,” says Campoli. “Depth and balance were a huge thing for us.”

With just a few days before the start of the Centennial Cup, the Blues are gearing up for the biggest stage in the history of their franchise and are excited to showcase their talent on the national stage.

“For us, we want to enjoy the entire process because let’s be honest, there is the potential that not many of our players ever see the national stage again. So, we’re definitely excited for the opportunity,” says Campoli.

HOW THEY GOT TO PORTAGE

Ontario Junior Hockey League
Preliminary round: defeated Stouffville 4-0 (6-1, 5-3, 7-0, 4-1)
Quarterfinal: defeated Milton 4-0 (6-1, 4-2, 5-1, 4-1)
Semifinal: defeated Burlington 4-1 (6-4, 5-2, 0-2, 2-1, 3-0)
OJHL championship: defeated Trenton 4-1 (2-0, 5-1, 1-2, 3-2, 2-1)

REGULAR SEASON

Record (W-L-OTL-SOL): 44-9-0-1 (2nd in OJHL)
Goals for: 226 (6th in OJHL)
Goals against: 113 (2nd in OJHL)
Power play: 48 for 237 (20.2% – 6th in OJHL)
Penalty killing: 199 of 229 (86.9% – 5th in OJHL)
Longest winning streak: 10 (Mach 10-April 7)
Top 3 scorers:
• Bryce Sutherland – 32G 37A 69P (T-17th in OJHL)
• Cam Garvey – 38G 26A 64P (22nd in OJHL)
• Ikki Kogawa – 21G 27A 48P (T-55th in OJHL)

PLAYOFFS

Record: 16-2
Goals for: 70
Goals against: 25
Power play: 19 for 68 (27.9%)
Penalty killing: 52 of 59 (88.1%)
Top 3 scorers:
• Dylan Hudon – 8G 13A 21P
• Mark McIntosh – 9G 9A 18P
• Ayden Dooley – 4G 14A 18P

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY

First appearance

COMMITMENTS

Noah Pak – Yale University (2023-24)
Cam Garvey – Robert Morris (2023-24)
Cameron Eke – Colgate University (2024-25)
Pacey Schlueting – Nipissing University (2023-24)

CJHL TOP 20 RANKINGS

Sept. 26 – 1st
Oct. 9 – 5th
Oct. 16 – 5th
Oct. 24 – 7th
Oct. 31 –2nd
Nov. 7 – 5th
Nov. 14 – 8th
Nov. 21 – 5th
Nov. 28 – 5th
Dec. 5 – 6th
Dec. 12 – 5th
Dec. 19 – 5th
Jan. 9 – 5th
Jan. 16 – 5th
Jan. 23 – 5th
Jan. 30 – 5th
Feb. 6 – 5th
Feb. 13 – 5th
Feb. 20 – 6th
Feb. 27 – 6th
March 6 – 6th

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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