Inferno still on top in heated playoff race

CARP – After a weekend of games, the West Carleton Inferno are still in the driver’s seat in the race for the final National Capital Junior C Hockey League (NCJHL) playoff spot.

The Inferno (11-21) continue to battle the Metcalfe Jets (10-20-2) for the eighth and final playoff spot with only two games left in the regular season. The battle is pretty much head-to-head as three of the last four regular season games have or are against the Jets.

Inferno game poster

This started last Friday night (Feb. 7) in Metcalfe in what was an incredible back-and-forth game decided in overtime. The Jets were up early leading 2-1 after one period at the Larry Robinson Arena. The teams exchanged goals in the second and the Inferno tied the game 3-3 in the third sending it to overtime. Alexander MacNeil would score in the bonus hockey round to win it for the Jets.

The Inferno were able to escape Metcalf with a critical point.

“The Jets grabbed an early lead but despite a short bench, the Inferno battled hard to tie the game 3-3 in regulation time but suffered a loss 4-3 in overtime,” general manager and team president John Miotla told West Carleton Online yesterday (Feb. 11). “Saturday, the Inferno was back on track with a 6-2 win at home versus the very talented Gatineau-Hull Volant.”

Luskville’s Ryan Nugen had a goal and an assist in the game. Perth’s Lucas Marr and Almonte’s Colin Gourgon scored the other goals for the Inferno.

The very next day the team showed great resiliency beating the second place East Division Gatineau Hull-Volant 6-2, picking up an important two points that put the Inferno back in the final playoff spot.

Carp’s Corey Symington had a hat trick and added an assist for four points to lead all scorers. Granton’s Noah Jesson had a goal and two assists; Carleton Place’s Joe Shrubsole had a goal and an assist; Kemptville’s Benjamin Medynski had two assists; and Newmarket’s Gabriel Veyt had a goal.

“With two games remaining in the regular season, the West Carleton Inferno hold on to third place in the NCJHL West Division and potentially a spot in the playoffs with the Metcalfe Jets close behind,” Miotla said.

Both of those final regular season games are at home, against the Jets.

“Rescheduling the two games that were recently postponed due to weather creates an interesting situation where the Inferno host the Metcalfe Jets on home ice for the last two games of the regular season,” Miotla said. “This Family Day weekend essentially becomes a pre-playoff showdown to see who stays on top to secure the last playoff spot. The Inferno only have to win one of our last two regular season games top move on to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.”

The Inferno play the Jets in Carp at the W. Erskine Johnston Arena on Feb. 15 at 8:10 p.m. and end the regular season on Family Day (Feb. 17) at home with a 1:30 p.m. puck drop against the Jets.

“The West Carleton Amatuer Sports Club has graciously agreed to open early for the game,” Miotla said. “Bring the kids and make an Inferno Cheer poster for a chance to win group passes for LaserTag. It’s going to be another weekend of great NCJHL junior hockey action in Carp.”