Pembroke Lumber Kings 2 - Aurora Tigers 3
MICHALSKY’S OVERTIME GOAL SENDS TIGERS TO CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
At the 2007 RBC Royal Bank Cup awards banquet on Friday night, Aurora Tigers forward Daniel Michalsky took home the tournament’s MVP award, as well as the Top Forward honour.
In Saturday afternoon’s semi-final against the Pembroke Lumber Kings, Michalsky made everyone that voted for him look like a genius, scoring the overtime winner in the Tigers’ 3-2 win.
Michalsky jumped on a rebound in the slot and slipped the puck through the legs of Lumber Kings goaltender Paul Beckwith, sending the Central Region champions to their second National Junior A Championship final in four years.
The Tigers were in tough against the East Region champions – the only team to beat them in the round robin – needing to come back from a 2-1 deficit and getting outshot 26-24 in regulation time.
Aurora head coach Jerome Dupont was pleased with his team’s effort, and had nothing but praise for the Lumber Kings.
“That was a hard fought battle,” Dupont said following the win. “We expected a tough game, but nothing that tough. They are a very well-coached team, and they came prepared today.”
The Tigers opened the scoring midway through the opening 20 minutes, as Colin Williams redirected a centering pass from Mike Ward over the shoulder of Beckwith, scoring his second of the tournament.
Pembroke got one back before the end of the period, as Jeremy Lapierre’s shot from the blueline fooled Tigers goaltender Tyler Gordon, pulling the Lumber Kings even on the powerplay.
Another point shot from Pembroke gave them the lead just short of the midway point of the second period, as Matt Rhymer beat Gordon for his first goal of the tournament.
The Lumber Kings pressured the Tigers, coming close on more than one occasion, but could not beat Gordon to push the lead to two.
A goaltender interference penalty to Pembroke’s Steve Omelko stopped the Lumber Kings’ momentum and the Tigers capitalized with the man advantage, as Mark Thorburn pulled them even, sending the game to the second intermission tied 2-2.
The Lumber Kings carried the play in the third period, outshooting the Tigers 8-4, but could not get the go-ahead goal despite numerous glorious opportunities.
Aurora had the only three shots of the extra period before Michalsky ended it at the 2:21 mark, giving the Tigers an opportunity to win their second national title in four years, to go along with their 2004 crown.
Williams was named Player of the Game for the Tigers, while Eric Selleck picked up the honour for the Lumber Kings.
TIGERS, LUMBER KINGS LOOK FOR CHAMPIONSHIP GAME BERTH
The Aurora Tigers were the top team in the round robin at the 2007 RBC Royal Bank Cup, and on Saturday afternoon they’ll look to avenge their only loss thus far when they take on the Pembroke Lumber Kings in a semi-final match-up at CN Centre.
The East Region champions got the best of the top-ranked Tigers on Monday afternoon, coming away with a somewhat surprising 5-3 win. Scott Campbell led the way with a pair of goals, while Paul Beckwith made 25 saves.
Apart from the loss to the Lumber Kings, Aurora was the class of the round robin, capped off by their 7-4 win over the previously-unbeaten Camrose Kodiaks on Thursday afternoon. The Central Region champions finished as the highest-scoring team in the preliminary round, averaging five goals per game over their four contests.
Daniel Michalsky led the way offensively for the Tigers, scoring a tournament-leading seven goals in four games. He also finished tied with Camrose’s Scott Kobialko for the tournament scoring lead with seven points. If he, and the rest of the Tigers, can continue their offensive roll, the Lumber Kings could be in trouble.
The Lumber Kings qualified for the semi-final in dramatic fashion, topping the Selkirk Steelers 4-2 in a winner-take-all game for the final playoff spot in the final round robin game on Thursday night. They’ll look to use the momentum of their earlier win over the Tigers to propel them into Sunday’s championship game.
The Scott Campbell-Chris Laganiere-Brandon Richardson line was by far the best for Pembroke in their round robin games, combining for six goals – more than half of the team’s total – and 11 points. The Lumber Kings will need production from more than just their top line if they hope to leave Prince George as national champions.
The Lumber Kings will be out to prove that Monday afternoon’s win was no fluke, while the Tigers will look to move into their second national final in four years with a victory. One moves on, one goes home on Saturday afternoon at CN Centre.