Camrose Kodiaks 4 - Aurora Tigers 7
TIGERS TOP KODIAKS, TAKE TOP SPOT IN ROUND ROBIN
The Aurora Tigers used a quick start and a third-period flurry to knock off the Camrose Kodiaks 7-4 on Thursday afternoon, a win that allowed them to finish in first place in the round robin at the 2007 RBC Royal Bank Cup.
Mike Ward scored once and set up another and Joey Martin had a trio of helpers as the Central Region champions advanced to a Saturday semi-final with the winner of Thursday night’s Pembroke/Selkirk game at CN Centre.
Ward got the Tigers on the board quickly, snapping a shot past Camrose goaltender Keanan Boomer right off a face-off in the Kodiaks’ zone, giving Aurora a 1-0 lead just 1:31 into the game.
Andrew Favot pushed the lead to two six minutes later, finishing off a beautiful passing play from Paul Zanette and Joey Martin on a Tigers powerplay.
The Kodiaks got the game even before the first 20 minutes had ended, as Evan Oberg and Eric Kroshus scored goals with Camrose on the man advantage. Both goals came on setups from Jesse Todd.
Vince Bruni restored the Tigers’ lead five minutes into the second period, shoveling a puck past Boomer after a scramble in front of the Camrose goal, and Colin Williams got the lead back to two late in the middle frame, taking advantage of a fortuitous bounce off a Kodiak defenseman’s skate and beating Boomer for his first goal of the tournament.
Camrose fought back once again, as Scott Kobialko scored on another Kodiaks powerplay just 23 seconds into the third period, cutting the lead to one.
But two goals 13 seconds apart, from Daniel Michalsky – his tournament-leading sixth – and Quinn Waller, gave the Tigers a three-goal cushion, enough to hand the Pacific Region champions their first loss of this year’s National Junior A Championship.
Jon Cook, on another Kodiaks powerplay, and Michalsky traded goals in the final 12 minutes, providing the final margin of victory.
Boomer, making his first appearance at this year’s RBC Royal Bank Cup, turned aside 23 shots, while Tyler Gordon made 32 saves in the Aurora goal.
Oberg, who finished with a goal and two assists, and Martin received Player of the Game honours for the Kodiaks and Tigers, respectively.
The Kodiaks’ loss means they will face the host Prince George Spruce Kings in Saturday’s second semi-final, at 7:00 p.m. at CN Centre.
KODIAKS, TIGERS MEET IN SHOWDOWN FOR FIRST PLACE
The most anticipated game of the round robin at the 2007 RBC Royal Bank Cup takes place Thursday afternoon, and first place will be on the line as the Camrose Kodiaks meet the Aurora Tigers at CN Centre.
The Kodiaks have yet to lose a game at the National Junior A Championship and have been defensively stifling so far, allowing only three goals in as many games, while scoring 10 times. They will need to continue that strong defensive play if they hope to shut down the Tigers, who have scored a tournament-high 13 goals in their three games.
The Joe Colborne-Scott Kobialko-Mike Connolly line has been the best for the Pacific Region champions thus far in the tournament, combining for 12 points in three games. If they can continue their roll, the Kodiaks will be tough to beat.
Aurora came into the 2007 RBC Royal Bank Cup as the top-ranked team in Canada, and can earn their spot as the top-ranked team in the round robin with a win over the Kodiaks. Apart from their surprise loss to Pembroke earlier in the week, the Tigers have looked a lot like the team that won 73 of 83 games in the regular season and playoffs.
Daniel Michalsky has proven to be the Tigers’ most consistent player, scoring at least one goal in all three of Aurora’s games, including a hat trick in Monday’s loss to the Lumber Kings. He will need to continue to find the back of the net if the Central Region champions hope to finish atop the round robin standings.
With both teams already assured of semi-final berths, Thursday’s game will decide positioning. A win will give a team first place, and a match-up Saturday with either Pembroke or Selkirk, while a loss means a date with the host Prince George Spruce Kings. Home ice advantage in the semi-final is already assured, but both teams would love that top seed, and a possible home ice in Sunday’s championship game.