Mike Kennedy scored twice, including one off a power play, to give Dundas Real McCoys a 6-4 victory over Brantford Blast and a berth in Major League Hockey’s championship final.
The Real McCoys eliminated Brantford 4-2 in games in the best-of-seven series and will take on the Norwood Vipers in the James J. Robertson Cup final, which opens Friday (March 25) at 8 p.m. in the Dundas’ Grightmire Arena. The second game will be played in Norwood’s Asphodel-Norwood Community Centre Sunday (March 27) at 8 p.m.
Norwood made the senior A championship final by eliminated the league’s first place team, the Whitby Dunlops, 4-2 in games.
On the season, Dundas and Norwood met four times with the Real McCoys winning at Norwood by scores of 10-7 and 6-4 while losing twice at home in extra time by identical 5-4 scores. Dundas lost once in overtime and once in a shootout.
“Norwood (Vipers) dispensed with the most talented, and first place, team in our league in six games. I understand their goalie (Ryan Aschaber) was their best player and they just flat out-worked the top ranked Dunlops,” said general manager Don Robertson.
“We’ll have to be on top of our game because these guys (Norwood) are well coached and work their guts out every night. It should be quite a challenge. That said we’ll draw on our experience and hard work to try and find success… this will be a real test.”
“We like our team, and the fact they have accepted their playoff roles. We dropped (Mark) Jooris in for a game (against Brantford), and he fit like a glove in the line-up, like a true veteran. We know (Bryan) Worosz or (Jeff) Maund can do the job in the net, so we are prepared to battle for a spot in the Allan Cup Tournament, and win a Robertson Cup for the year of Hockeyville in Dundas,” added Robertson.
Scoring for Dundas on Thursday (March 17) in addition to Kennedy were Jooris and Matt Smith with a goal and two assists each. Steve Hurst and TJ Sakaluk (empty net) added singles. For the Blast, Chad Spurr, Ryan Stephenson, Kyle McNeil, and Matt Turek scored once each.
Brantford took the early lead as the Real McCoys appeared to stumble coming out of the gate, but as time went on the McCoys hit their stride and took control of the game. The turning point came mid-way through the opening period when the Blast rifled a shot off the goalpost. Moments later Brantford swung into the clear in the Dundas end, and uncorked a shot, which Worosz snared with lightning speed as it headed for the top corner of the net.
“I thought we had a couple of the major components for playoff success. I think we out-worked them (Brantford) and secondly our goaltending was better. Their young goalie (Ben) Thomas had to go the distance after their other guy (Brett Leggat) disqualified himself by being a backup with the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League,” Robertson said.
“I thought it was a great series, and showed off the balance in our league. Brantford has some great players. It was nice to beat our biggest rival, and we are glad that they are back in the league.”