Exciting times for playoff hockey in the Quinte region

The Wellington Dukes have already advanced to the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s South/East Conference final and the Trenton Golden Hawks are one win away from joining them to make it a battle of the Quinte clubs in the junior A playoffs.

Thursday night, the Dukes completed a four-game sweep over the Haliburton County Huskies with a 3-2 win in Minden. The Golden Hawks were edged 4-3 by the host Toronto Jr. Canadiens, which staved off elimination, but still trail that best-of-seven conference semifinal 3-2.

Trenton, which won the first three games before losing two straight, has another chance to close out the series Friday night when they welcome the Jr. Canadiens to the Duncan McDonald Memorial Gardens at 7:30 p.m.

In the junior C playoffs, the Picton Pirates are one win away from moving on to the Provincial Junior Hockey League’s Tod Division final. The Pirates pulled out a 4-3 victory in overtime Thursday night in Amherstview to take a 3-2 series lead against the Jets.

Game 6 is scheduled for Saturday night in Picton at 7:30 p.m. at the Prince Edward Community Centre. If necessary, the seventh-and-deciding game will be played Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in Amherstview.

The winner will move on to face the Port Hope Panthers, which won the other semifinal in six games against the Napanee Raiders.

Meanwhile, a number of local teams qualified for their respective Ontario Minor Hockey Association Championship Weekend.

Both the Quinte Red Devils U10 and U11 AAA teams already competed at OMHA tournaments in Oakville March 24-26 and went undefeated in round-robin play before losing in the semifinals.

This weekend, the U12, U13 and U14 Red Devils are all competing at the OMHA Championship Weekend in Oakville.

Quinte’s U12 Red Devils won their first game Friday morning 3-1 against the Oshawa Generals. They’ll take on the Niagara North Stars, which also won their first game, at 6:30 p.m. and then complete the round-robin schedule Saturday at 2 p.m. against the Halton Hurricanes. The semifinals and final are scheduled for Sunday.

The U13 Red Devils dropped a 5-2 decision to the Central Ontario Wolves on Friday afternoon and will look to rebound Saturday at 8 a.m. against the Credit River Capitals before completing the round-robin at 6 p.m. against the Burlington Eagles. The semifinals and final are scheduled for Sunday.

In the U14 AAA division, the Red Devils were defeated 3-1 by the Barrie Colts on Friday morning but bounced back in the after with an 8-2 win over the Southern Tier Admirals. They finish the round-robin Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. against the Halton Hurricanes. The semifinals and final are scheduled for Sunday.

Four teams – U14 A, U15 A, U16 A and U18 A – from Quinte West Minor Hockey qualified for the OMHA championships.

Friday morning, Quinte West opened the U18 A OMHA Championship Weekend with a 2-2 tie against the Markham Waxers. The Golden Hawks will play Welland at 8 p.m. Playoff games begin Saturday and continue Sunday.

Also in Whitby for the U15 A OMHA championships, Quinte West dropped a 5-2 decision to the Barrie Colts on Friday morning and were scheduled to play Norfolk at 6:15 p.m. before playoffs get underway Saturday.

The U14 and U16 Golden Hawks will compete for their OMHA championships April 7-9 in Whitby.

Belleville Minor Hockey will be represented at the U12 and U16 AA OMHA championships.

The U16 Bulls were the Lakeshore League finalists and are competing this weekend in Kingston. They were 5-2 by the Newmarket Renegades in their opening game Friday afternoon.

On Saturday, they play Belle River at 10 a.m. and the Milton Winterhawks at 6 p.m. with hopes of advancing to the final day of competition Sunday when the semifinals and final will be played.

The U12 Bulls won the Lakeshore League playdowns and will compete at the OMHA championships April 7-9 in Kingston.

The Stirling Blues are competing at the U11 Tier 2 OMHA Championship Weekend in Barrie this weekend. They were defeated on Friday 6-3 by the AEMHA Ice Dogs and 4-1 by the Wallaceburg Lakers but will face Sturgeon Lake on Saturday morning at 9:45.

If you know of any other teams that will compete at the OMHA championships, e-mail jeffgard.totalsports@gmail.com.