Sakaluk, Christie lead McCoys to Allan Cup 2011

2011 John Ross Robertson Cup champions, the Dundas Real McCoys (Photo: Rick Zazulak)

Dundas Real McCoys, for the fourth consecutive time have advanced to the Allan Cup Tournament at Kenora, Ontario following their 8-5 victory over Norwood Vipers last Thursday before 945 fans in the JL Grightmire Arena.

The 103rd Allan Cup Canadian Senior AAA Hockey Championship Tournament runs from April 11 through 16, 2011 at Kenora. The Real McCoys were scheduled to play the host Kenora Thistles, Monday, April 11 at 8 p.m. in the Kenora Arena. Game two was set for Tuesday at 8 p.m. against the Bentley Generals from Alberta.

“We’ll have a short bench for the first two games, but we decided to go younger this year for the Allan Cup. The down side is, if these guys can get enough time off work. We feel good about our group and our goaltending is strong unlike 2008-09, which cost a shot at the Cup,” said General Manager Don Robertson.

“If this roll of the dice on going with young guys for the Allan Cup and signing veteran guys who might make it fails, the blame comes down on me, no question about it. I’m okay with that because it gave us the best chance to win if it works.

Six Senior AAA teams in two divisions from across Canada are taking part in the weeklong tournament to decide the recipient of Canada’s oldest National championship, the Allan Cup. Dundas is in Division 2 with Kenora and Bentley. South East Prairie Thunder from Red Deer, Alberta, Fort Frances Thunderhawks from Thunder Bay and Clarenville Caribous from Newfoundland make up the other division.

Three goals by TJ Sakaluk and a pair by Ryan Christie provided the McCoys with the seventh game and the best-of-seven John Ross Robertson Cup Major League Hockey championship 4-3 in games. Last Tuesday, Dundas fell 5-2 to the Vipers in the Asphodel-Norwood Community Centre. The Real McCoys are representing the Ontario Hockey Association and the Ontario Hockey Federation at the Allan Cup.

Scoring for Dundas last Thursday in addition to Sakaluk’s three goals including one on the powerplay and another shorthanded and Christie’s pair were Mike Amodeo, Mike Kennedy, and Cam Watson with singles as Dundas’ special teams came to life with two powerplay goals and three shorthanded. The final two McCoys goals were scored into the empty net. In the final four games, Dundas scored twice on 23 opportunities while Norwood went zero for 22 chances. The club went through three games without a powerplay goal.

“Big games come along once in a while, and as they say your best players have to be your best players, veterans Christie and Davis decided we weren’t going to lose after the 1st period, and lead a great group to victory. We have lots of leaders in the room and boy it worked out, some new guys bought-in to us winning, and off we go again to the Allan Cup,” said Robertson.

Shawn Griffin, Chris Johnston, Joe Curry, Shannon McNevan, and Jordan Freeland replied for Norwood in the final game. The Vipers took command of the game early and built a 3-1 lead and appeared to have taken command of both the game and the series before Dundas stormed back to win.

“The veteran team beat the hard-working team by working just as hard (as them). We had guys like (Justin) Davis and (Tom) Brown blocking big shots in game seven, and that’s the way good teams keep winning,” noted Robertson.

“I have said (in the past) how well coached the Vipers are, but it’s time to salute Spud (Ken Mann) and Bernie (Ron Bernacci) who have taken us to four straight Allan Cups. I’m not sure there is a better coaching staff in Canada…there are many ways to coach, but these guys get the job done; a great job every year. The entire organization is proud of them and thank them.”

Last Tuesday at Norwood, Freeland got the only goal of the third period, his second of the game into an empty net with a minute left to play. Cory Johnston and Curry got their other goals while Watson and Paul Lawson replied for Dundas in the wide-open affair. The McCoys outshot Norwood 53-46 in the losing effort.

2011 Allan Cup Schedule

Monday April 11, 2011 – 8:00 p.m.
Dundas Real McCoys vs. Kenora Thistles

Tuesday April 12, 2011 – 8:00 p.m.
Bentley Generals vs. Dundas Real McCoys

Thursday April 14, 2011 – 2:00 p.m.
3rd in D2 vs. 2nd in D1

Thursday April 14, 2011 – 8:00 p.m.
3rd in D1 vs. 2nd in D2

Friday April 15, 2011 – 2:00 p.m.
Winner from game 7 or 8 vs. Champion of D1

Friday April 15, 2011 – 8:00 p.m.
Winner from game 7 or 8 vs. Champion of D2

Saturday April 16, 2011 – 3:00 p.m. Live on TSN
GOLD MEDAL GAME – Winner from Game 9 or 10 vs. Winner from Game 9 or 10