A three-point night by Mike Ruberto enabled Brantford Blast to edge the Dundas Real McCoys 5-4 and even the semi-final at a game apiece on Sunday (March 4) in the Brantford Community Centre. Two nights earlier, Ryan Christie had two goals and four assists to give the Real McCoys a 10-3 victory over Brantford in the series opener at the JL Grightmire Arena.
“We played the way we wanted to last Friday at home and got the results we wanted. We just have to keeping working in both ends of the ice if we are going to advance past this round,” said coach Ken Mann.
In the other series, Whitby Dunlops took a 3-0 series lead as they defeated Orillia Sunrise Toyota Tundras, 6-1 at Orillia last Wednesday, 6-1 last Friday, and 14-4 last Saturday. Game four of the series is set for Wednesday (March 7) in the West Orillia Sports Complex. If necessary, game five will go Thursday (March 8) at Whitby with game six (if necessary) at Orillia, Sunday, March 11 at 7:45 p.m. in the West Orillia Sports Complex, and game seven (if necessary) in Whitby’s Iroquois Sports Complex, Wednesday, March 14 at 8 p.m.
Game three of the Dundas-Brantford series is scheduled for the JL Grightmire Arena Tuesday (March 6) with game four Friday (March 9) at Brantford. Game five on Sunday, March 11 will be played at Dundas followed by games Tuesday, March 13 at Brantford (if necessary), and Wednesday, March 14 at Dundas (if necessary). All games begin at 7:45 p.m.
“This series will be a beauty before it’s over because these teams don’t like each other. Last Friday we came to play and last Sunday we had some guys away because it was an afternoon game. We just can’t play without a full lineup, and it’s my job to ensure we have that,” said general manager Don Robertson.
At Brantford on Sunday, Ruberto set up three of the five Blast’s goals including the game-winner by Greg Bullock at 2:27 of the third period. Also scoring for Brantford were Jon Jankus, Chad Spurr, Cory Springer and Jeremy Bloomfield. For Dundas, Scott Mifsud scored twice and set up a third with single goals going to Jeff White and Cam Watson.
On Friday, scoring for Dundas were David Volpe with two goals and singles by Mifsud, Paul Lawson, Darryl Smith, John Neal, Justin Davis, and Brad Kenny. Travis Lisabeth, Ryan Healy, Ruberto replied for the Blast.
With the score 4-1 in favour of the home side in the second period, Neal connected on the powerplay at 8:34 with Kenny and Mifsud assisting. A couple of minutes later, Jeff White levelled Brantford’s Wally Easter with a solid hip-check while the Blast were busy trying to formulate a three-on-two attack in the Dundas end of the rink. Davis followed with a powerplay tap-in on Blast netminder Ben Thomas at 13:52, set up by Christie. Mifsud came within an eyelash of running the score to 7-1 when he fired the puck past the open left corner of the net with three minutes remaining.
Things began to improve for the Blast when they replaced Thomas with Brett Leggat at the start of the third period. Healy started Brantford down the comeback road as he tapped the puck into the open net when he caught Dundas goalie Jeff Maund out of position at 1:40.
Volpe found the net as he knocked in a deflection off a Ryan Christie shot at 4:25, and followed with Dundas’s fifth powerplay goal of the night into an open Brantford net with Davis and Christie assisting. In between, Maund made a game-saving leg save when Ryan Stephenson tried to stuff the puck into the right side of the McCoys net.
Late in the period, Maund was felled by a shot from the point by Brantford and replaced by Bryan Worosz.