Dundas Real McCoys’ general manager Don Robertson appears to have cornered the market on hockey talent this season. And could it be true that he has a garage full of goalies?
Neil Clelland re-joined the Real McCoys late in the campaign as the club’s third goalie to provide depth in the event that Jeff Maund and Bryan Worosz were injured. And that is exactly what happened: Maund and Worosz did get injured. Unfortunately, so did Clelland.
So how does Robertson respond? He brings in Brock Novak, an affiliate player from the Burlington Cougars of the Provincial Junior A Hockey League, as an injury replacement. The move has reaped dividends for Dundas as the 19-year-old netminder backstopped the club to back-to-back wins last week at Brantford and at home.
“Novak will stay with us for the remainder of the John Ross Robertson Cup series. We do not know what his plans are down the road; however, I suspect that he has his eyes on playing in the NCAA. I also believe that he has another year of Junior left, but I’m not sure,” said Robertson.
Regardless, Robertson’s stash of talent does not end there. Last Sunday, the home fans were treated to the return of one of the club’s stars both on and off the ice – Rick Vaive. His return this time was in a coaching role.
“Rick and I have stayed in touch since he played and coached here in the early 2000s. We knew that Spud (Ken Mann) and Bernie (Ron Bernacci) would miss part of the Robertson Cup final if we made it that far, so we signed Vaive in February to help on the bench when the other guys were away.”
“It seems that we have played our cards well by having depth both in goal and in coaching. In this business there is always something new that you need to be prepared for,” added Robertson.
Justin Davis (centre background) nets game-winner against Brantford Blast goalie Brett Leggat while Darryl Smith looks on. (Photo: Richard Zazulak)
Sunday (March 10) in the Grightmire Arena, Justin Davis broke the hearts of the Brantford Blast fans when he scored at 7:18 of the third period. That goal proved to be the game winner as Dundas battled its way to a 5-3 victory and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Robertson Cup.
Two nights previous at Brantford, the McCoys scored four times in the third period and posted the first 5-3 victory over the Blast.
Game three is at Brantford on Friday (March 15) at 7:30 p.m., and game four is back at Dundas Sunday (March 17) at 7:30 p.m. The winner of the series will advance against the Thistles for the Renwick Cup at Kenora on the weekend of March 29-30.
“Every playoff game has been well played and close. Each one has been a one-goal game except the wins that involved empty net goals. This speaks volumes about the competitiveness of our league (Allan Cup Hockey),” said Robertson. “I suspect that the balance of this series will remain the same.
“This is outstanding Senior hockey, and the fans are certainly getting their monies worth.”
“Our players are doing what’s expected of them at this time of the year, which is one reason that we are having the success that we are. They are all working hard defensively and paying the price to win. (Jay) McKee’s shot blocking has definitely become contagious.
“It’s a challenge playing in front of your third or fourth goalie of the playoffs. They all have different styles, however, they have one thing in common, they are always making those key saves.”
In Sunday’s, Davis scored three times, once even-strength before adding the game-winner on a powerplay, and a final one into an empty net in the third period. Darryl Smith had a goal and three assists with Scott Stafford getting the other goal. McKee set up two of the Dundas scoring plays while Mike Burgoyne, Ryan Healy, and Mark Taylor replied for Brantford.
Two nights before at Brantford, the score was a complete turnaround from the regular season play between the two clubs. During the season, the league leading Blast swept five of the six games played between the two clubs.
Ryan Christie, Stafford, and Darryl Smith each notched a goal and an assist while TJ Sakaluk and Cam Watson added single goals. Joel Prpic scored twice for Brantford with Cam Sault adding a single.
ALLAN CUP HOCKEY FINAL
John Ross Robertson Cup
Friday, March 8 – Dundas 5 at Brantford 3
Sunday, March 10 – Brantford 3 at Dundas 5
Friday, March 15 – 7:30 p.m., at Brantford
Sunday, March 17 – 7:30 p.m., at Dundas
Tuesday, March 19 – 7:30 p.m., at Brantford *
Friday, March 22 – 7:30 p.m., at Dundas *
Sunday, March 24 – 2 p.m., at Brantford *
* If necessary