Dundas faced with tough cut-down decisions

Brad Jackson (8) of the Real McCoys battles Whitby Dunlops goalie Joel Whitmarsh for the puck last Friday. Dundas defeated the Dunlops 6-4. (Photo: Rick Zarulak)

DUNDAS — This is without a doubt the toughest week of the year for the operators of Senior AAA franchises in the Ontario Hockey Association – cut-down week. This is when team managers thank players for the work that they have done, and inform them that they have reached the end of the proverbial road.

“We had a good look at the young guys Saturday (Jan. 7) in Orillia (Dundas lost 5-4 in a shootout) before the Jan. 10 cut-down date. We will meet and make some of the toughest decisions we’ve had to make in 10 years. That is the good news because they have all worked hard to make a difference to our organization,” said general manager Don Robertson.

“Personally, I hate this week of the year because we have to release players to meet the roster limit. These are great kids, but we just can’t keep them all.”

The previous night, Cam Watson’s unassisted goal off a give away by Dunlops’ Mike Pawlak gave Dundas a 6-4 victory over Whitby in Allan Cup Hockey action in the JL Grightmire Arena. The loss was the third in a row – and their only setbacks this year – for the league-leading Dunlops, who have 14 wins. The McCoys are third with a won-lost record of 6-5-3-3.

Friday night (Jan. 13), Orillia visits Dundas at 7:45 p.m. in the Grightmire and the following day the McCoys play Norwood Vipers at 7 p.m. in the Asphode-Norwood Community Centre.

“Things are coming along well for us. We are one point out of second because we picked up three of a possible four points this past weekend. Our league is tight and every game is a huge one from this point on,” said Robertson. “We have our sights set on adding some depth to our defence, and plan to make those additions over the next couple of weeks. We very well may add a forward as we prepare for the playoffs. Right now we are happy with the forwards we have.”

Last Saturday, Dundas led Orillia 3-2 after 20 minutes of play and 4-3 after the second. Orillia got the lone goal of the third period and then outscored Dundas 3-2 in the shootout for the victory.

Mike Amodeo had a goal and an assist with TJ Sakaluk, David Volpe, and Paul Lawson adding single goals. Greg Johnston, Jeff Hopkins, Kevin Shoebridge, Leiland Gauley, and Travis Fuller (game winner in the shootout) replied for Orillia.

The previous night the action became extremely intense when Shane Terry drilled a shot over the net to the right of goalie Jeff Maund with three minutes to go. With a little more than a minute to go Pawlak fired a bullet drive from the blueline, which Maund snared easily. Shortly after Whitby gave the puck away and Watson scored at 18:03. At 19:04, the Dunlops Adam Van Dam took a minor for roughing thus setting up Justin Davis’ empty net goal.

Scott Mifsud, with three goals, and Omar Ennaffati, with one, had the other Dundas goals.

Jason McAuley, Pete MacKellar, Chris Korte, and Dylan Oneil replied for Whitby as Dundas outshot Whitby 33-31.