Following back-to-back losses to the top two teams to end their regular season in Allan Cup Hockey, general manager Don Robertson, coach Ken Mann and assistant coach Ron Bernacci have brought out the “Real” in the Dundas Real McCoys.
It all started innocently enough last Wednesday (Feb. 20) at Whitby when the McCoys took a 6-2 lead in the opening game of the ACH best-of-seven semi-final series and then held off a Dunlops comeback to win 6-5. Two nights later in the JL Grightmire Arena, the McCoys fell behind 2-0, but came back to post a 5-4 victory, and then capped the week off with a 3-2 win at Whitby the next night.
“The whole group has done a great job for us. Three different lines have stepped up in each of the games, which speaks volumes to the depth we worked to obtain,” said Robertson.
“Three victories, each by one goal, prove the Dunlops are an outstanding hockey team. This series can turn around in a hurray if we give them an inch. This series is a long way from being over. You can count on a barn burner, this Friday in Hockeyville.”
Game four of the series is in Dundas’s Grightmire Arena Friday night (March 1) at 7:45 p.m. The final three games, if necessary, are scheduled for Whitby on Saturday (March 2) at 6:30 p.m.; Dundas, Monday (March 4) at 8:30 p.m.; and Whitby, Wednesday (March 6) at 8 p.m.
In other best-of-five semi-final playoff action, Brantford Blast lost the opening game to Orillia Sunrise Toyota Tundra 5-4 at Brantford before rebounding to win 3-2 the next night in the West Orillia Sports Complex. Game three of the series is slated for Brantford Tuesday (Feb. 26) with game four at Orillia on Thursday (Feb. 28) at 8 p.m. The final game of the series, if necessary, will be played in the Brantford Civic Centre Friday night (March 1) at 7:30 p.m.
“To say we are happy with our start might be an understatement. We did focus on being ready for the playoffs, and worked on areas that did not always show up on the scoreboard toward the end of the season,” said Robertson.
“(Jeff) Maund stepped in, in goal, and was solid in the first two games of the series. (Neil) Clelland played as well as we have seen him play this season Saturday at Whitby.”
In the opener at Whitby, last Wednesday, the McCoys scored three second period goals and went one for two on the powerplay as they edged the Dunlops 6-5. Darryl Smith led the McCoys attack with two goals, one shorthanded, to start the game and the game-winner 50 seconds into the third period.
Justin Davis set up three scoring plays in addition to scoring the first of three Dundas goals in the middle period. Cam Watson registered a goal and an assist with Mike Berry and Scott Mifsud adding single goals. Steve Hurst picked up a pair of assists. However, it was the McCoys three goals in the second that Whitby couldn’t overcome. Overall, Whitby outshot Dundas in every period for a game total of 37-28, but could not beat them on the scoreboard.
Peter MacKellar replied with two goals for Whitby with Kyle Musselman, Murray Free, and Shane Terry adding a goal each. Adam Van Dam had two assists.
In game two, Mifsud led the Dundas attack with two goals and three assists while Scott Stafford pumped in a pair of markers, and added an assist. Nick Smith drew four assists. Dan Pitre added the other goal.
For the Dunlops, Brett McConnachie, MacKellar, Chuck MacLennan, and Jason McAuley scored once each. Chris Eade had two assists.
The following night at Whitby, MacKellar opened the scoring for the Dunlops with Eade and Steve Thomas assisting at 9:44. Less than a minute later, Whitby went up 2-0 on a goal by McConnachie. However, the McCoys rallied to cut the lead to a goal as former Dunlop Dan Torres connected on a pass from Jay McKee. In the second, Pitre tied the score and Mike Amodeo registered the game winner. Torres, Amodeo, and Pitre had a goal and an assist each with McKee assisting on two of the scoring plays. There was no scoring in the third period.