Beefed up defence, team effort lifts Dundas


Dundas welcomes former NHL defenceman Jay McKee to the lineup. (Photo: Robin Leworthy Wilson, aerialpromotions.ca)

Dundas welcomes former NHL defenceman Jay McKee to the lineup. (Photo: Robin Leworthy Wilson, Aerial Promotions)

It is down to the crunch for the Dundas Real McCoys with just three weekends left in the Allan Cup Hockey regular season. Every game from this point onward is a must win including this Friday’s (Feb. 1) against the Welland Whalers in the JL Grightmire Arena. Game time is 7:45 p.m.

Dundas gained considerable ground on the Whitby Dunlops with solid victories over the first place Brantford Blast and the Welland Whalers. The addition of former National Hockey League defenceman Jay McKee to the Dundas lineup also gave the Real McCoys some additional respect.

In their final three games, Dundas will face Welland, Brantford, and Whitby, so the road will not be easy.

Last Friday, Dundas handed Brantford its second consecutive ACH loss by a score of 7-4 in the Grightmire Arena. Cam Watson scored twice including the game winner against the Blast last Friday night at home and got his third goal of the weekend in the McCoys 9-3 win over the Whalers the following night at Welland. He also set up a goal in that game.

“As a group we played much better on the weekend. We worked hard for our wins,” said general manager Don Robertson. “It was nice to see Bryan (Worosz) play well, and he gave us better goaltending in both of the games.”

“McKee played well in both games, and as he plays more he’ll get a better feel for the league. The good news is he has another gear to go up for playoffs, and that will be a tremendous help for us,” Robertson added.

“With Bryan playing well and with the addition of Maund and his AHL experience plus having Mark Jooris back again we feel good going into the playoffs.”

McKee’s addition to the roster over the weekend lifted the play of the entire defence corps to a new level. His play was complimented by the arrival of former American Hockey League defenceman Jeff MacMillan.

The 35-year-old McKee played 802 regular season game in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues, and Pittsburgh Penguins from 1995-96 to 2009-10. He was a regular on the Sabres defence in 582 games from 1995-96 through 2005-06. He played three seasons with the Blues and finished his career with Pittsburgh in 2009-10. Overall, he played in 60 NHL playoff games.

MacMillan, 33, spent five seasons in the AHL from 2001-02 to 2005-06 with the Utah Grizzlies, Hartford Wolf Pack and Syracuse Crunch, and had a brief tour of duty with the NHL Dallas Stars. He won a Memorial Cup with the Oshawa Generals in 1996-97.

Dundas never trailed last Friday as it posted leads of 1-0 and 2-1 after the first and second periods. The loss for Brantford was the third of the year for the league leaders. The Blast now has a record of 16 wins and three losses. Whitby Dunlops are second with 11 wins and seven losses while Dundas holds third with a 12-9 mark.

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Dundas celebrates a goal on route to a 7-4 win over the Brantford Blast (Photo: Robin Leworthy Wilson, Aerial Promotions)

Friday’s win moved the McCoys within three points of the second place Dunlops. The following night Dundas narrowed the gap to one point, with its victory over the Whalers in the Welland Arena. Dundas scored four times in the first period, once in the second and hammered home four more in the third against the Whalers as Ryan Christie and Scott Stafford scored twice each. Christie picked up three assists.

Nick Smith, Watson (powerplay), Mike Berry, Scott Mifsud, and Darryl Smith rounded out the scoring with a goal each. Mifsud set up three scoring plays with Nick Smith and Berry drawing two assists apiece. Jeff White and Dan Pitre each had two assists.

Last Friday, in addition to Watson, the McCoys got single goals from Justin Davis, Darryl Smith (shorthanded), Christie (powerplay), Nick Smith, and Jooris (empty net). It was Darryl Smith’s shorthanded goal on a breakaway in the third that turned the tide in favour of Dundas. For Brantford Chris Rebernik scored twice with Mike Burgoyne and Joel Prpic adding one each.