Three-point nights by Ryan Christie and Nick Smith coupled with Neil Clelland’s third period all-star performance in goal, carried Dundas to a 4-2 victory over the Whitby Dunlops as the Real McCoys swept the best-of-seven Allan Cup Hockey semi-final series 4-0 Friday (March 1) in the JL Grightmire Arena.
It was all eyes on the puck as Neil Clelland (31) deflected a shot while Jeff White (9) and Justin Davis (12) held off the Whitby attack. (Photo: Richard Zazulak/Dundas Real McCoys)
This Friday (March 8), the McCoys open a best-of-seven John Ross Robertson Cup final series in the Brantford Civic Centre at 7:30 p.m. The second game will be played at Dundas the following day in the Grightmire. Game time is 2 p.m.
“Goaltending played a huge role in the outcome. (Jeff) Maund played well in the first two (games) without having played all year. Then Clelland steps in for the next two, and steals the show, which is fabulous for a rookie,” said general manager Don Robertson.
“We have so many guys who accept rolls at this time of year, and step up and perform them well without any complaints, and that’s huge.”
Clelland, a 28-year-old netminder from Mississauga who played eight games for the McCoys during the regular season, was removed from the roster as part of the Ontario Hockey Association’s Jan. 10 cut down. He remained close to the team, and was re-signed by the club just before the playoffs.
In eight regular season games, he had a record of two wins and four losses and had a save percentage of .855. However, the playoffs have been another story. To date, Clelland has earned two victories over Whitby allowing two goals in each of the games and has a save percentage of .940. It was on the strength of his third period effort last Friday coupled with an overall team effort that the McCoys were able to advance.
“I am not sure that anyone could have predicted the series would be a sweep either way. The difference seemed to be our team’s resiliency in the last two games. We were down early, but never gave up a goal from the mid-point of the first period. You cannot teach that, and our group seems to have it,” said Robertson.
“Now we’ll play the powerhouse, Brantford Blast. They have been the top club from day one this season. They will be a true test and we know it. This series has all the makings of a long battle with a ton of sub-plots. It should be a beauty!”
Dundas now plays Brantford in the best-of-seven John Ross Robertson Cup final. The Blast won its semi-final series with the Orillia Sunrise Toyota Tundras 4-1 in games. Brantford shutout Orillia 5-0 in the final game of the series at home on Friday (March 1).
At Dundas, Darryl Smith, Ryan Christie, Nick Smith (on a powerplay), and Scott Mifsud into the empty Whitby net scored single goals. Peter MacKellar and Dylan O’Neil replied for the Dunlops.
ALLAN CUP HOCKEY FINAL
John Ross Robertson Cup
Brantford vs. Dundas – March 8 – 24
Friday, March 8 – 7:30 p.m. at Blast
Sunday, March 10 – 2 p.m. at McCoys
Friday, March 15 – 7:30 p.m. at Blast
Sunday, March 17 – 7:30 p.m. at McCoys
Tuesday, March 19 – 7:30 p.m. at Blast *
Friday, March 22 – 7:30 p.m. at McCoys *
Sunday, March 24 – 2 p.m. at Blast *
* If Necessary