Maroons clinch Western Conference, headed to the Sutherland Cup

Chatham Maroons file photo. (Photo by Matt Weverink)

The Chatham Maroons defeated the Leamington Flyers, 5-2, to become the Western Conference Champions on Saturday afternoon.

Chatham started the game hot, more than doubling Leamington’s shots on net, 22-9, in the first period.

David Brown, a draft pick of the Saginaw Spirit, opened the scoring less than 2 minutes into the game.

That was followed up by two goals from Cameron Symons to end the first period 3-0 for Chatham.

Leamington got one back in the second courtesy of Gavin Grundner, but Chatham’s Connor Paronuzzi refused to let that go unanswered, scoring 12 minutes later.

All of the game’s penalties came in the third period. Chatham’s Owen Sculthorp got four minutes for spearing, followed by consecutive Flyers penalties. Noah Prudhomme got two minutes for holding and Connor MacPherson took two minutes for hooking.

Leamington got their second goal of the game when Gabe Piccolo scored while shorthanded, on the hooking penalty.

Cameron Symons cemented the win with a hattrick on an empty net goal, bringing the final score to 5-2.

The Maroons came into the Conference Championships after defeating the London Nationals and Komoka Kings in previous rounds.

Moving forward will be a round-robin between the three GOJHL (Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League) Conference Champions, before the ultimate showdown for the Sutherland Cup.

They will face the Cambridge Redhawks, who took Mid-Western Conference in five games, and the St. Catherines Falcons, who won the Golden Horseshoe Conference in six games.

The last time Chatham qualified for the Sutherland Cup Final was in 2006.