Aurora Tigers 4 - Selkirk Steelers 2
TIGERS RIDE STRONG START TO WIN OVER STEELERS
Andrew Favot and Michael Dahlinger scored in the opening 10 minutes, Tyler Gordon made 26 saves, and the Aurora Tigers picked up their first win at the 2007 RBC Royal Bank Cup with a 4-2 victory over the Selkirk Steelers on Sunday afternoon at CN Centre in Prince George, BC.
Favot got the Central Region champions started off on the right foot, converting on a wraparound just 1:53 into the opening period, and Dahlinger made it a two-goal game just over seven minutes later, beating Steelers goaltender Cody Didychuk.
Michael Ward pushed the Tigers’ lead to three early in the second period, as his point shot eluded Didychuk.
Adam Pleskach got the Steelers on the board with a powerplay goal close to the seven-minute mark of the middle frame, beating Aurora netminder Tyler Gordon after a scramble in front of the Tigers’ goal, but Daniel Michalsky restored the three-goal lead just 105 seconds later.
The Steelers tried to fight back in the final 20 minutes, but Russ Payne’s goal with three seconds remaining was the only puck to beat Gordon.
Following the win, Tigers head coach Jerome Dupont was pleased with his team’s effort in their opening game.
“Winning the first game is really important,” Dupont said following his team’s sixth consecutive win at the National Junior A Championship, dating back to the 2004 event in Grande Prairie, AB. “It can get you on the right track, and get you headed towards the semi-finals. We were pleased with how we came out today.”
Dahlinger picked up Player of the Gamer honours for Aurora following his one goal, one assist performance, while Pleskach took home the award for the Steelers.
Both teams are back at it at CN Centre on Monday, with the Tigers facing the Pembroke Lumber Kings at 2:00 p.m., and the Steelers taking on the Camrose Kodiaks at 7:00 p.m.
TIGERS, STEELERS KICK OFF RBC ROYAL BANK CUP WITH MATINEE MATCH-UP
The Central Region and West Region champions kick off their 2007 RBC Royal Bank Cup when the Aurora Tigers and Selkirk Steelers meet on Sunday afternoon in a matinee match-up at CN Centre in Prince George, BC.
The Tigers are the CJAHL’s top-ranked team entering the National Junior A Championship, having lost only nine of 78 games in 2006-07, including regular season and playoffs.
Aurora is one of the most offensive teams in the championship, scoring 404 goals in 78 games, an average on more than five goals per game. They spread around the scoring, with Andrew Favot’s 69 points (31 goals, 38 assists) leading the way in the regular season. Six Tigers registered at least 50 points, including captain Quinn Waller, who led the team with 47 assists.
Selkirk had arguably the toughest road to Prince George, needing four overtimes in Game 7 to eliminate the SJHL-champion Humboldt Broncos and win the ANAVET Cup. The Steelers will hope to use that momentum at the RBC Royal Bank Cup and win their second National Junior A Championship (the Steelers won the 1974 Centennial Cup).
The Howarth twins, Kyle and Brent, were the offensive stars for Selkirk, finishing one-two in MJHL scoring. Kyle’s 141 points (38 goals, 103 assists) led the way, with Brent’s 131 (49 goals, 82 assists) right behind. Adam Sergerie was also a league leader, as his 64 goals led the Manitoba league.
The Steelers are back in the National Junior A Championship for the first time in more than 30 years, while the Tigers are on the prowl for their second title in four years (they won the 2004 championship in Grande Prairie, AB). One of these teams will get their quest for national championship number two off on the right foot on Sunday afternoon.