Dundas split its weekend games and remain two points out of first place. With two weekend games, including one at home, where they had only one regulation defeat in 13 Major Hockey League games, and one visiting the last place team, everything looked right for a first place take over by the Dundas Real McCoys.
However, the MLH’s leading Brantford Blast weren’t ready to give up their top spot. The Blast, dominating the rest of the league for most of the season, skated into Dundas last Friday (Jan. 25) with a sub-par away record and skated out with a sub-par away record, but remained in first place.
Led by a three-assist performance from one-time Real McCoys’ forward Bobby Stewart, along with two goals from Jason Simon and a stellar display in net from Anthony Marshall, the Blast maintained their lead over Dundas for that extremely valuable top seed with a 4-2 victory.
Mike Lankshear and Todd Hlushko scored for the Real McCoys, who failed to earn a point for only the second time this season at J L Grightmire Arena.
It was an important two points for two teams who are battling, along with the Windsor Saints, for that coveted home ice advantage throughout the post season. A number one finish would ensure a battle with a much more favourable opponent, likely the Tillsonburg Vipers who currently sit in fourth place with only nine wins. Finishing in second or third place would create a much more rockier path to the league title and further down the line, the 100th Allan Cup. For Dundas, a win over Brantford would have given them first overall with a pair of games in hand and firm control over their own playoff fate.
The McCoys used one of their games in hand on Sunday (Jan. 27) and capitalized in a big way, despite having a short bench. The McCoys dressed only nine skaters in Petrolia, usually a recipe for disaster, and came away with two big points in a 7-5 triumph. Justin Davis and Chris Wismer led the scoring attack with two goals each, while Mike Amodeo, Brandon Merli and Nick Smith each contributed a single tally.
Mike Aglor and Hlushko collected a couple of assists each and Sean Hall stopped an astounding 42 shots for the impressive Dundas victory.
The win put the McCoys within two points of first place, but maybe more importantly, put themselves four points clear of Windsor for second place with a game in hand on them as well. The Real McCoys chase for the top continues in a big way this week, starting with the McCoys visiting Windsor on Wednesday (Jan. 30) for a makeup of a postponed game and then hosting a rematch with the last place Squires two nights later in Dundas.
They will follow up with a quick turn around, putting their league best road record (6-5) on the line Saturday night in Tillsonburg. The McCoys and Vipers have faced off eight times this season, with Dundas dominating the series with seven straight wins, including four in a row at Tillsonburg.