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The team from the little town that's "beautiful in the fall" have completed their Attack over the Ontario Hockey League....
Jarrod Maidens' goal at 3:27 of overtime set off a celebration that started at the Hershey Centre and stretched all the way up to the shores of Georgian Bay as the Owen Sound Attack became 2011 Ontario Hockey League Champions. The Attack were the underdogs coming into the championship series, and were down 2-0 and 3-2 in the series before bouncing back to defeat the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors.
Kudos to GM Dale DeGray and Head Coach Mark Reeds. There were some around the league that had them written off after last season. Some even reported that the Attack were set to clean house. But DeGray made a shrewd trade with Niagara and Reeds, along with assistant Terry Virtue, guided the club to its first championship since the franchise relocated from Guelph. Count me in as somebody who was not expecting a ton out of the Attack this season. They had plenty of veterans back, but just never seemed to be able to put it all together - until now. I can remember talking to members of the Attack early in the season. They made it clear there was a different feeling in their dressing room this season, and it showed throughout the year. The pieces that were assembled in Owen Sound just plain and simply worked. Depth in goal, depth on the blueline, depth up front. It's easy to forget Robby Mignardi was a 30-goal scorer in both of the past two seasons.
You can't help but feel good for the small community of Owen Sound being able to bask in the championship glow. A great job loading tons of people up in cars, vans, buses, whatever to get to the Hershey Centre for Sunday's Championship Game. The Attack have a reputation as not being a great "travel team" but overcame that Sunday by being loud and proud in Mississauga.
Now it is onto the Memorial Cup beginning Friday night. No matter what happens, nobody will be able to take the 2011 OHL Championship away from the Owen Sound Attack.
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