Lesson learned; playing coaches can’t win a title, even Doug Harvey learned that with the 1961-62 New York Rangers. So, why would the Brantford Blast have their coach Bryan Hamm, and assistant coach Tyler Pelton act as playing coaches in their latest Allen Cup Hockey playoff game?
Consider this, Dundas Real McCoys had three pairs of eyes on the bench (coach Ken Mann, assistant coach Ron Bernacci, and general manager Don Robertson) watching the ebb and flow of the game. Brantford on the other hand had no one, save Hamm and Pelton on and off the bench. Who’s going to win? Dundas answered that question, and they move on while Brantford goes back to the drawing board.
That is only part of the answer, the other being the intimidation that did not work. The Blast was without the services of Gerald Moriarty for the final game because of his suspension for attempting to injure another player Friday (March 9).
“So, we are on our way to another (John Ross) Robertson Cup final, on the shoulders of tremendous crowd support and all-round disciplined hockey,” said Robertson.
“Our guys turned the other cheek and scored on power plays, whenever it was needed while Brantford tried their sideshow (Moriarty and Hamm) trying to intimidate us and put us off our game. That was their approach to defeating us. I guess the results speak for themselves.”
Sunday, two goals in 58 seconds, killed the Blast’s second period momentum, and propelled the Real McCoys to an 8-6 win and a 4-1 best-of-seven Allan Cup Hockey League semi-final playoff victory in the JL Grightmire Arena.
Dundas now meets the regular season league leading Whitby Dunlops in the best-of-seven final for the Robertson Cup. Playoff dates are yet to be announced. Whitby defeated Orillia Sunrise Toyota Tundras 4-1 in games in their series.
“We used three goaltenders in this series. We knew (Jeff) Maund, (Ryan) Munce, and (Bryan) Worosz were better than what they had been, and their numbers made that clear. Brantford’s number one guy (Brett Leggat) had a 7.43 goals against average in the series,” said Robertson.
Worosz played his best game of the season as he held Brantford to two goals in the final 20 minutes as the Blast outshot the McCoys 21-7 for a three-period total of 48-26.
Typical of his play was the save he made at 15:29 of the first period when Mike Lankshear lost the puck to a Blast attacker. Worosz raced out and blocked the Brantford player and his teammate and deflected the puck high out past the blueline. Twenty seconds later, Greg Bullock got in alone and drilled a shot at Worosz who came up with a second game-changing save. In the third, the McCoys netminder was called on again, and answered. Chad Spurr got a break on a Dundas giveaway, fired and Worosz beat him.
“It was a great all-round effort, and we look forward to playing Whitby in the final again. Jeff MacMillan and Lankshear played their first games with us in the Brantford series, and that depth is what we need as we move forward,” said Robertson.
Scoring for Dundas Sunday night were Scott Mifsud with two goals including one on a powerplay. Mike Kennedy, Darryl Smith, Brad Jackson, Ryan Christie, TJ Sakaluk, and Paul Lawson added the others. Cam Watson set up three Dundas scoring plays while Kennedy and Justin Davis assisted on two each. Ryan Stephenson with a pair of goals replied for the Blast. Brad Jones, Jon Jankus, Adam Schwark, and Matt Ruberto added one each.
Friday at Brantford, Mifsud scored four times as Dundas skated to a 9-6 victory to put the Blast on the edge of elimination. Smith, with three goals and two assists, and Davis, with a goal and four assists, also scored for the McCoys. Christie added a goal and two assists, and Brad Kenny chimed in with three assists. Mike Ruberto with a four-goal effort replied for the Blast. Bullock (four assists) and Cory Stringer added a goal each. Wally Easter set up three of the Brantford goals.
The game, however, was marred by 45 infractions totalling 144 minutes in penalties to both teams. The worst of it came at the 18:07 mark of the opening period when three Brantford players and three Dundas players littered the ice in a series of fisticuffs that all began with Patrick Easter tripping a Dundas player, and Omar Ennaffati being called for interference.
In the end, Moriarity was banished from the game and from the remainder of the series with a match penalty for attempt to injure, a major for fighting and a game misconduct. Teammate Jones picked up two majors for fighting and a game misconduct, but was able to play in Sunday’s match at Dundas. Watson picked up two fighting majors and a game, Mike Amodeo received a fighting major and two game misconducts for fighting and for third man in a fight while Kennedy received a 10-minute misconduct for inciting an opponent.
Tuesday (March 6), Brantford at Dundas, three goals by Davis including one on the powerplay carried the Real McCoys to a 7-4 win over the Blast.
Other goals for Dundas came from Kenny, Christie, Jackson, and Smith into the empty net. Smith assisted on four of the McCoys scoring plays with Christie setting up two others. Travis Lisabeth, Mike Ruberto, Stephenson, and Wally Easter replied for the Blast.