Central 2 - Pacific 3
By Jonathan Russell
Calgary won a trip to the gold medal game after a heated battle with Toronto ended 4-2.
A minute later, a slap shot from the slot by Mitchell Smith found the top corner, making it 2-0.
Seven minutes left on the clock, Toronto forward Brenden Soley was shut down with a glove save on a breakaway by Calgary goalie Jacob DeSerres.
Hard work in the corner of the Calgary zone paid off for Toronto forward Daniel Mandel, who made it out for a quick pass to Stefan Smith, burying the puck with 16 seconds left in the period.
The first period ended 2-1.
Intense powerplay action for both sides led to many shots in the second period.
Both DeSerres and Reynolds were tested consistently, coming up big to keep their teams within one goal of eachother.
No goals were scored until just over a minute left when Chad Golanowski popped one after a beauty pass from Mike Connelly.
The second period ended 3-1.
Calgary started the third period conservatively, dumping the puck when they got the chance and working the outside boards.
They continued to pour on the pressure, keeping a mid period powerplay in the offensive zone for the entire two minutes.
A tic-tac-toe play from Calgary was shut down by Reynolds with six minutes left on the scoreboard.
Five minutes to go, Toronto brought the game within one when Alex Galli got a pass from Stefan Della Rovere at the hash marks on the left side boards, sniping a far side wrist shot past the blocker of DeSerres.
A heated battle finished off the third with Toronto applying tremendous pressure.
DeSerres was tested five times in an offensive attack from Toronto before coach Darren Rommerdahl called a timeout and pulled DeSerres.
Despite Toronto’s last minute efforts, they lost the game 4-2 after an empty net goal from Jordan Eberle with less than a second to go.
Players of the game were Jared Docking and DeSerres.
PREVIEW: The Toronto Junior Canadiens and the Calgary Buffaloes finished the round robin with the same 3-2 record, with the Junior Canadiens narrowly defeating the Buffaloes 5-4 in the opening round.
Second place Toronto had strong run through the opening round, despite being upset by the St. John’s Maple Leafs and losing to Prince Albert’s Mintos.
Junior Canadiens Alan Reynolds won top goaltender honors with a 3-1 record, stopping 117 out of 128 shots.
The offense will be spread around the board for the Junior Canadiens, having Jared Docking, 7 points, Daniel Mandel, 6 points, and Brendan Soley, 6 points, scoring the majority of Toronto’s points.
On the blue line, the Junior Canadiens boast arguably the best defensive pair in Alex Pietrangelo and Michael D’Orazio. Both defenseman are capable of shutting down speedy forwards and helping the offense, particularly special teams.
But will Toronto’s twin towers be enough to shut down Calgary’s unpredictable offense, led by Telus MVP and top scorer Mike Connolly?
Connolly scored 2 of his 8 total goals against the central champs and will hope to carry his point streak into the semis.
Like the Junior Canadiens, Calgary can look to a number of players to contribute with 5 Buffaloes ranking in the top 20 of the tourney’s point-getters. Even more impressive, Calgary took home 4 of the 6 awards given to players after the first round. Chris Markiewicz picked up top defenceman, finishing fifth in scoring, Mark Lyons got the Esso Scholarship award and Jordan Eberle was awarded Most Sportsmanlike.
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Jeff Beck Manager, Marketing Services and Events | Responsable, événements spéciaux et internationaux