Ennaffati, McCoys in overdrive to lead series 3-1

Mark Jooris (19) and Captain Justin Davis whoop it up after Omar Ennaffati's overtime slapshot beat Whitby goalie Joel Whitmarsh to give Dundas a 4-3 win to send the John Ross Robertson Cup series back to Whitby on Wednesday night. (Photo: Richard Zazulak)

DUNDAS – Omar Ennaffati’s powerplay slapshot at 13:52 of the first overtime period gave Dundas Real McCoys a 4-3 victory over the Whitby Dunlops and a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven John Ross Robertson Cup final Monday (March 26) in the JL Grightmire Arena.

In earlier action, Dundas took game one at Whitby, 6-2, the previous Tuesday only to have the Dunlops stage a come from behind 7-4 victory over the McCoys on Friday (March 23) in the Dundas arena.

Saturday night, Dundas led 3-2 when the Dunnies tied the score with five seconds left in regulation time. The McCoys got the game-winner just past the mid-point of the first overtime to set the stage for Monday game at Dundas.

Ennaffati’s game-winner came 12 seconds after Whitby had been caught with too many men on the ice at 13:40. Dundas had successfully weathered a five-minute major to Mike Amodeo for checking from behind (plus automatic game misconduct) at 7:10.

Game five of the series is set for Wednesday (March 28) in Whitby’s Iroquois Sports Complex at 8 p.m. If necessary Game 6 will be at Dundas on Friday, March 30 at 7:45 p.m. and Game 7 at Whitby on Sunday, April 1 at 4 p.m.

The winner of the series will be host to the Northern Ontario representative, Kenora Thistles, in a best-of-three series on Easter Weekend (April 6-8) to determine which team advances to the Allan Cup Tournament at Lloydminster, Saskatchewan from April 16-21.

“A couple of character wins in overtime have really helped us. Whitby is a very good hockey club. This series could still easily go seven games,” said general manager Don Robertson. “(Ryan) Christie and (Mike) Amodeo both have to serve two-game suspensions, so we just have to keep lugging away.

“We have now used all three goalies in both series, which speaks to our depth in goal. We’ll just have to see how it goes on from here. Right now, Kenora is sitting and waiting to play somebody from down here.”

Monday night’s overtime had all the elements anyone could ask for. Cam Watson narrowly missed a tip-in that would have ended the game at 2:02. Two minutes later Whitby’s Peter MacKellar walked in on a breakaway from centre, and was stopped cold by Bryan Worosz. Then Mark Jooris found himself on the doorstep, but there was nowhere to insert the key.

Watson had the hearts racing on breakaway off a giveaway during the club’s five-minute major penalty, but Whitby’s Joel Whitmarsh stood his ground and turned the play aside. In turn, Chuck MacLennan missed the wide-open net with a certain game-winning shot at 8:23.

At 13:40, the death-knell was sounded for the Dunlops, who were caught with too many men on the ice. Twelve seconds later Ennaffati unloaded his slapshot from the blueline and the rest is history.

In addition to Ennaffati, Dan Pitre, TJ Sakaluk, and Darryl Smith scored for Dundas. MacLennan, Garett Winder, and Colin Baker replied for the Dunlops.

Brad Jackson’s third goal at 11:15 of the first overtime period gave the Real McCoys the 4-3 victory on Saturday.

Jackson, in addition to his goals, picked up one assist. Ryan Christie added a goal and an assist. Justin Davis set up two scoring plays including the game-winner. MacKellar scored two powerplay goals for Whitby with Mike Pawlak adding a third powerplay marker.

Whitby, on the strength of three goals by MacKellar, got its 7-4 win to briefly tie the best-of-seven series at a game apiece on Friday.

Also scoring for Whitby were Adam Van Dam, Martin Kearns, Andrew Gibbons, and Shane Terry. Replying for Dundas were Jeff White, Watson, Mike Kennedy, and Scott Mifsud.

Smith, with three goals, two of them shorthanded, and a pair of assists, paced the Real McCoys to a 6-2 victory over the Dunlops in the opening game of the series.

Also scoring for Dundas were Jeff MacMillan, Watson and Brad Kenny with single goals. Christie set up three scoring plays while Ennaffati and Davis assisted on two each. Replying for Whitby were Winder and Jason McAuley.