Watson’s hot hand lifts McCoys into second

NORWOOD — Cam Watson’s seven-point weekend not only helped vault the Dundas Real McCoys into second place in the Allan Cup hockey League, it also gave him the league scoring lead as well.

After last Sunday’s (Jan.15) action Watson leads with 25 goals and 17 assists for 42 points in 18 games with nine games remaining in the regular season schedule. Last season he had 21 points in 18 games. Watson leads Whitby Dunlops Peter MacKellar by one point, and Jason McAuley and Adam Van Dam of the Dunlops by five points. Teammate Brad Kenny is fifth with 10 goals and 24 assists (34 points) after last weekend.

Last Sunday, the McCoys 8-5 victory over the Norwood Vipers in the Asphodel-Norwood Community Centre, came two nights after Dundas defeated the Orillia Sunrise Tundras 6-3 in the JL Grightmire Arena. Ryan Christie scored twice and set up another goal to go along with Jeff Maund’s solid goalkeeping against the Tundras. It was the McCoys fifth consecutive home ice victory.

“We have better depth, and the guys have given us what is needed to win. If our competition level remains high we should be able to stay within the mix,” said associate coach and general manager Ron Bernacci.

“Jeff White (goal and assist versus Orillia) and Mike Kennedy (one assist versus Orillia) should make significant contributions, and Kennedy’s National Hockey League experience speaks for its self. White’s skating and puck moving ability will help us replace an injured Jerry Galway.

“Our goaltending depth really showed on the weekend with a couple of great performances by Maund and Ryan Munce.”

Whitby still tops the ACH standings with 16 wins and three losses while the McCoys are second with a won-lost record of 7-5-3-3. The McCoys have one game this week at Orillia (Friday, Jan. 20) in the West Orillia Sports Complex when they play the Tundras at 7:45 p.m.

“The view from second place certainly is nice as we quietly slide up the standings,” said general manager Don Robertson.

The remaining schedule for Dundas is at Brantford Blast, Friday, Jan. 27 at 8 p.m.; Norwood Vipers at Dundas, Friday, Feb. 3 at 7:45 p.m.; Whitby Dunlops at Dundas, Friday, Feb. 10 at 7:45 p.m.; Dundas at Whitby, Saturday, Feb. 11 at 6:30 p.m.; Norwood at Dundas, Friday, Feb. 17 at 7:45 p.m.; Dundas at Brantford, Sunday, Feb. 19 at 2 p.m.; Brantford at Dundas, Friday, Feb. 24 at 7:45 p.m.; and then wind up the regular season at Norwood, Sunday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m.

Last Sunday at Norwood, Watson struck for two goals and four assists with Darryl Smith adding a pair of goals. Kenney chimed in with a goal (the game winner at 6:29 of the third period) and three assists. Dan Pitre, Christie, and Paul Lawson scored once each.

Dundas, playing with just 11 players, outshot Norwood 15-7 in the third period and 47-36 on the night. The score was tied 1-1 after 20 minutes, 4-4 after 40 before the Real McCoys took over scoring four times in the third period. Murray Free with two goals and Dave Stewart and Darren Doherty replied for the Vipers.

Last Friday at Dundas, in addition to Christie, Brad Jackson, White, Mike Amodeo, and Watson each scored once. Replying for Orillia were Dennis Dewar with two goals and a single by Craig Woods.

With 36 seconds to go in the middle period Dennis Dewar tucked in a rebound on Maund after the Dundas netminder had beaten Leiland Gauley to his right.

In the third period, Christie found himself on Ron Bertrand’s doorstep with 15:26 to in the third but the Tundras netminder stopped him cold. Orillia returned the favour at 8:23 when Dewar fried from the top of the crease, but Maund held his ground.

One of the highlights of the final period came at the 11:50 mark when Watson managed to flick a shot at Bertrand after he was tied up by an Orillia defender on a rush in from the blueline. The Tundras final major assault on the Dundas net came with 4:35 to go in regulation time when Jackson drilled a shot from point blank range from the right faceoff circle, which Maund handled easily. Watson of the McCoys and Randy Johnston traded opportunities on back to back rushes in the final three minutes before Watson scored into the empty net.