What a run!
It started with an 8-6 win in Windsor last Wednesday (Jan. 30) and ended with a Sunday afternoon 8-6 home win over the Petrolia Squires. In the middle was a remarkable 5-4 comeback, overtime victory over Tillsonburg and a rise to first place in the Major League Hockey standings.
Now, with only two games remaining in the regular season, the Dundas Real McCoys are back in the playoffs and looking to lock up home ice advantage throughout the MLH post season tournament. If the McCoys are to remain in the top spot it will take another big weekend. Dundas kicks off its final weekend of the schedule with a trip down the 403 to Brantford Friday (Feb. 8) before the Real McCoys make their way into Windsor for the finale on Saturday.
The McCoys, who were noticeably absent from the playoffs a year ago, have clinched at least second place thanks to their remarkable three-game winning streak over the last 10-days. First place remains in the McCoys crosshairs and the easiest way to maintain that position is to win both weekend games. Of course, there are many other scenarios that can play out in which Dundas can stay atop the standings, but determining their fate is the simplest.
But easier said than done. The McCoys have struggled all year against Brantford, winning just once in eight meetings. Dundas does own the best road record in the league, posting a highly impressive eight wins in their away uniforms, but the Brantford Civic Centre is where they have not won (0-3). In fact, of their nine defeats this season, seven have come at the hands of Brantford.
The McCoys’ run last week was by far their most remarkable stretch of the season. Playing undermanned and facing three games in five days, sitting atop the MLH mountain may have seemed unattainable.
“We have been short guys cause of injuries and work,” said Real McCoys’ associate head coach/general manager Don Robertson. “But good teams find a way to win and we seem to find a way.”
The way was led by an unbelievable week from forward Justin Davis. The highly skilled star scored a hat trick in all three games, including a four-goal performance in Sunday’s win over Petrolia. The emergence of Davis, alongside Nick Smith and Ryan Christie, shows just how deep the Real McCoys offence runs. Smith has 30 points in only 13 games as a Real McCoy, scoring twice and adding five assists during the three-game streak. While Christie, chipping in with three goals and five assists, sits second in league goals, with 22 on the season.
Along with the feared TMT troika, featuring Todd Harvey, Mike Kennedy and Todd Hlushko, the McCoys can now suit up a group that is unmatched offensively.
As the final weekend looms, one thing is for certain – the Dundas Real McCoys will be hosting a playoff series. The unanswered question is will it be as the number one team in MLH, or will it be as number two?