The men have been separated from the boys and now it’s time to see who’s the best.
When the Major League Hockey finals kick off it will be a battle of the titans, as the Dundas Real McCoys get set to do battle with their arch rival, the Brantford Blast. The top two teams during the regular season cruised through their semi-final match ups and prepare for what promises to be a memorable championship round. On the line, at least for the Real McCoys, is the opportunity to continue their quest for the right to represent Ontario in the 100th Allan Cup. The Blast, hosts for senior hockey’s version of the Stanley Cup, already have their ticket punched to the biggest post season party of the year. But receiving the automatic berth as the host of the event, the Blast certainly would like to prove that they belong amongst the elite in the nation. by becoming MLH kings first and then provincial powers later.
The playoff dates have yet to be set.
The McCoys and Blast enter the final after both sweeping through their first-round opponents. Dundas, seeded No.1, rolled through the Tillsonburg Vipers in four straight, capturing a spot in the finals with two this past weekend. It began on Friday with a 5-3 home victory, which saw the return of fan favourite and senior hockey superstar Mark Jooris back in Dundas. His presence ignited an offence that has been explosive all season long, as the dynamic forward scored a goal and added three assists in his much awaited return. Ryan Christie, who led all scorers in the opening playoff round with six goals and 11 points, connected with two third period goals in the win, while Mike Lankshear and Todd Harvey picked up a goal apiece.
Sean Hall earned his second straight home win in the post season, stopping 27 shots.
The winning continued on Sunday, when the McCoys rode into Tillsonburg with their sights set on an appearance in the finals. Trailing by a goal after the opening 20 minutes and at the conclusion of the second stanza, Dundas scored four times in the final frame to earn the four-game sweep with a 6-4 win. Christie came up with two big goals in the third period. Justin Davis, who had nine points in the opening round, and Jooris, who finished with seven points in his two games, also lit the lamp during the third period comeback. Davis scored a powerplay goal in the first as well, while Paul Lawson picked up his first of the playoffs early in the second. Scott Dickie, making his second start in Tillsonburg during the opening round, as the McCoys continue to platoon their talented tandem in goal, made 23 saves for the series clinching win.
Much like the Real McCoys, the Blast swept their opening round combatants, taking out the Windsor Saints in four straight games. Steven Rice was the focal point offensively for Brantford, scoring four goals and adding two assists. Tyler Pelton, their second leading point-getter during the season, score three times in the series.
This series sets up to be much tougher than either of the semi-finals. The McCoys and Blast were expected by many to get to this point and an easy entry into the next level of the playoff tournament seems highly impossible. The Blast took the season series, by winning six of the nine match ups. However, most of those victories came in the first half of the season, before the Real McCoys found their true identity on the ice. The McCoys captured two of the last three meetings, including essentially locking down the league’s regular season title with a huge 6-3 win at the Civic Centre in Brantford back on Feb. 8.
“At Christmas time, I think people were already talking about a Brantford-Dundas final,” said Real McCoys general manager/associate head coach Don Robertson. “We come in a little banged up, but we know that we’ll need all hands on deck and a complete effort from everybody if we’re going to get past the Blast. It should be a tremendous ride in the finals.”