BLADES BUCKLAND CUP HISTORY:
The Frank Buckland Cup is presented each spring to the winner of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL). The OJHL champion is also recognized as the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) champion and represents the OHA at the Dudley Hewitt Cup Central Canadian championship each year.
Oakville has been fortunate enough to play in record four (4) straight Buckland Cup's from 2008 through 2011. Oakville won in 2008 over the Markham Waxers and 2010 over Newmarket Hurricanes, while falling in 2009 to the Kingston Voyageurs and 2011 to the Wellington Dukes.
The Oakville Blades recovered from a slow start to the 2010-2011 OJHL regular season to finish as the 3rd seed (4th overall) in the OJHL heading into the playoffs. The 3rd seeding earned the club a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
In their opening on-ice round Oakville met an extremely familiar opponent in the Georgetown Raiders. Oakville stormed out to a 3-0 series lead before dropping Game 4 in Georgetown, ON to allow the Raiders back in the series. The Blades turned in a less-than-perfect effort in Game 5, but escaped with a win and the series victory. With the win, Oakville eliminated Georgetown for the 4th consecutive season.
In the OJHL quarter-final the Blades took on crosstown rival Burlington, the Western Division champions and 2nd seed in the Northwest Conference. After trading wins in games 1-4, Oakville took a 3-2 series lead dismantling the Cougars on their home ice in Burlington 7-3. In Game 6, Burlington clawed back from a 2-0 deficit in the 3rd to force OT, but Oakville ended the series early in the OT to eliminate the 'Cougs.
Although the distance between opponents increased by about 3-hours for the OJHL semi-finals, Oakville met another familiar opponent in the Kingston Voyageurs (meeting for the 3rd time in 3 years). After capturing Game 1 on home ice 1-0, Oakville dropped a 9-1 decision in Game 2 on the road in the Limestone City.
The Blades then took Game 3 in Oakville, lost Game 4 in Kingston and dropped a heartbreaker in Game 5, in OT, in Oakville. With their season on the line in Game 6, Oakville tied the game 2-2 with under 4 minutes to go in the 3rd before ending it in OT to force Game 7. In front of their largest home crowd in years, Oakville hammered Kingston 5-0 to eliminate the Vees for the 2nd year in a row.
In the Buckland Cup, only a day removed from eliminating Kingston, Oakville met the OJHL's top ranked team in the Wellington Dukes and lost Game 1 on the road 5-2.
Despite outplaying the Dukes in Game 2 in Oakville, they were unable to solve the Dukes 'D' en route to a 4-0 loss. In Game 3 it was much of the same, though Oakville pulled out a hard-fought 2-1 win to climb back into the series. The turning point of the series then came in Game 4 as the Dukes scored in OT to take a 3-1 stranglehold on the series and returned home to eliminate the Blades in Game 5 by a 4-2 score to capture the Buckland Cup for the first time in close to a decade.
As was the case in 2008, 2009 and 2010, Oakville will graduate a large number from their 2010-2011 roster and will once again look to reload prior to training camp in August.
In 2009-2010 the Blades finished in 2nd place in the Ontario Junior 'A' Hockey League (OJAHL) behind the defending Central Canadian champion Kingston Voyageurs.
The opening round of the playoffs paired the 2nd place Blades against the 7th place Aurora Tigers - not far removed from a pair of Royal Bank Cup championships. Besides an OT loss in Game 4, the Blades overpowered the Tigers for much of the series, winning 4-games-to-1.
With thoughts of the 2009 OJHL semi-final classic against the Georgetown Raiders still fresh on both team's minds, the Blades and Raiders met again. With the series tied 1-1 and the Raiders taking a 4-1 lead to the locker room after the 2nd period of Game 3 at the old Oakville Arena, it looked as though Georgetown would take a 2-1 series lead home for Game 4. However, the Blades stormed back to tie the game at 4-4 in the 3rd period before capping the comeback with an OT win. The Blades would take the next two games and eliminate the Raiders 4-games-to-1.
In the OJAHL final the Blades met the regular season champion Kingston Voyageurs for the OJAHL crown. The series could have not have been tighter - with all 7 games being decided by a single goal, including 4 in OT. The Blades saved their best for last in the championship round, winning Game 7 on the road in OT to stun the 1,600+, standing room only, pro-Kingston crowd. The win sent the Blades back to the Buckland Cup for the 3rd straight season.
In the 2010 Buckland Cup the OJAHL champion Blades met the Central Canadian Hockey League (CCHL) champion Newmarket Hurricanes. The Hurricanes came into the championship showcasing a smothering defensive style, backed up by outstanding goaltending. After splitting the opening games, the 'Canes jumped ahead 2-1 in the series on the Blades before Oakville evened the series 2-2 with a road win in Game 4. In Game 5 the Blades would use an overtime goal to jump ahead in the series and headed back to Newmarket for Game 6 holding a 3-2 advantage.
In the 6th game, Oakville led a very tight contest 2-1 late in the 2nd period before blowing the game open with a PP goal in the final minute of the middle frame and another goal, shorthanded, with just a second left on the clock. Although a tough series from start to finish, the 4-1 advantage heading to the 3rd period allowed the Blades to cruise to a 6-1 victory and capture their 2nd Buckland Cup in 3 years.
With the series victory over Newmarket the Blades would advance to the Dudley Hewitt Cup in Sault Ste Marie, ON.
As was the case in 2008 and 2009, Oakville will graduate a large number from their 2009-2010 roster and will once again look to reload prior to training camp in August.
In 2008-2009 the Blades finished in 2nd place in the Mackinnon Division, although only a couple of points out of first place overall in the entire Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL).
Under a new playoff format, the 2nd ranked Blades opened the playoffs against the 7th ranked Brampton Capitals in the Mackinnon Division Quarter-Finals and captured the best-of-five series 3-games-to-0 before moving on to defeat the Burlington Cougars 4-games-to-1 in the 2nd round.
In perhaps the most anticipated playoff series of the entire OJHL playoffs the Oakville Blades met the Georgetown Raiders yet again for the division title. On the strength of strong goaltending from Adrian Volpe, the Blades took a 3-games-to-1 series lead before the Raiders stormed back to force a 7th game at the MoldMaster Complex in Georgetown. Before a sellout crowd of more than 1,200, and with starting goaltender Matt Hache back in net, the Blades won the series with a 3-2 victory.
In the Conference Final Oakville met another popular OJHL team, the Central Division Champion Wellington Dukes. In a back-and-forth series that was stretched to 7 games, the Blades prevailed with a near perfect performance on home ice, winning 3-0 to advance back to the final.
Back in the Buckland Cup for the 2nd year in a row the Blades hopped back on the 401 East to face the Ruddock Division Champion Kingston Voyageurs. The Voyageurs jumped out to a quick series lead with an OT victory on the road and a home ice triumph the next night before the Blades got on the board with a 5-4 OT win at the Joshua's Creek Arenas in Game 3. The teams traded wins in games 4 and 5 before Kingston captured the title with a 5-2 victory on home ice.
Although the team graduated a large portion of their roster at the conclusion of the 2008-2009 season, the offseason additions by the hockey club allowed the team to ice a very competitive roster through the 2009-2010 season.
On the strength of a mid-season 20-game winning streak, the Oakville Blades captured the OPJHL's Western Division regular season title with a 39-6-4 record.
After earning a first round bye with the first place finish, the Blades disposed of the Milton Icehawks 4-games-to-1 in the 2nd round and beat archrival Georgetown 4-games-to-1 in the 3rd round to win the West Division playoff title.
In the Northwest Conference championship, the Blades defeated the defending Royal Bank Cup champion Aurora Tigers 4-games-to-2, due in large part to overtime wins in game four and in game six, both on the road at the Aurora Community Centre.
In the OPJHL Buckland Cup final, the Blades met the Markham Waxers and the teams traded wins on home ice to start the series. From Game 3 onwards the series belonged to the Blades and Oakville overpowered the Waxers and took the final 4-games-to-1 to win their first championship in franchise history.
Following their Buckland Cup triumph, the Blades then moved on to the Dudley Hewitt Cup in Newmarket, ON to play for the Central Canadian championship and a birth in the Royal Bank Cup.