Pembroke Lumber Kings 2 - Vernon Vipers 0
LUMBER KINGS CROWNED RBC CUP CHAMPIONS FOR FIRST TIME WITH 2-0 WIN OVER VIPERS
CAMROSE, Alta. – The Pembroke Lumber Kings have won their first RBC Cup title, and their victory came at the expense of one of the tournament's most successful teams.
Francis Dupuis made 40 saves and Jonathan Milley scored twice as the Lumber Kings beat the two-time defending champion Vernon Vipers 2-0 to claim Canada’s National Junior A Championship.
“It's been a long time coming for this organization,” said Lumber Kings head coach and general manager Sheldon Keefe.
“To be able to bring a national championship back to Pembroke, I know for a lot of people who have given a lot of years to the organization that today is a big day.”
Pembroke is the first team from Ontario since the Aurora Tigers in 2007to win the tournament.
The Vipers, who have won a record six national titles, were looking to become the first team to win three straight championships.
“Beating a team like that, basically making a dynasty die, is incredible, especially because it was the Vernon Vipers,” Dupuis said.
After two scoreless periods, Milley opened the scoring at 13:39 of the third. After a turnover at the Pembroke blue-line, Milley raced away on a breakaway and beat Vernon goaltender Kirby Halcrow.
After over 53 minutes of scoreless hockey, the goal was a welcome relief to Dupuis and his teammates.
“You don't know if you're going to get one because they're playing so well defensively,” Dupuis said. “When we saw John Milley get that breakaway I was like: 'You have to put this in.' And he pulled through.”
Milley capped the scoring with an empty-net goal with 15 seconds remaining.
It was a different story in the first period, when Vernon outshot Pembroke 15-5 and the play of Dupuis kept the Lumber Kings in the game. But Pembroke only seemed to get energized after the opening 20 minutes.
“Coming into the dressing room after the first with a 0-0 score, we started believing in ourselves a little more and that gave us a little more motivation and more pep to come out later,” Dupuis said.
Halcrow did his best to keep the Vipers in the game, finishing with 21 saves.
The Vipers finished the round-robin with a 4-0 record and looked like the team to beat heading into the semifinals. The Lumber Kings, meanwhile, finished with a 1-3 record, tied with the Wellington Dukes and Portage Terriers, and advanced on goal differential.
But Pembroke came alive in the playoffs, first upsetting the host Camrose Kodiaks 4-2 in the semifinals before stunning the Vipers.
Keefe said the Lumber Kings started to believe they had a shot at winning it all after their last round-robin game. While they lost 5-3 to the Vipers, they gave Vernon its toughest test of the round-robin and even held a 3-2 lead at one point – the first time Vernon had trailed at the tournament.
“They came at us hard and they really pushed us and our guys had to respond to that because we were playing to get into the semifinals,” Keefe said. “From that game we learned that we could play with the best in the tournament, and our guys didn't look back from there.”
|Arena||Edgeworth Centre||City, Country||Camrose, Alta.|
|Month / Day / Year||05/08/2011||Time||06:00 PM MT|
|Pembroke Lumber Kings (EST)||0||0||2||2|
|Vernon Vipers (PAC)||0||0||0||0|
13:39 EST 23 Jonathan Milley
19:45 EST 23 Jonathan Milley EN
|Pembroke Lumber Kings||
|Shots on Goal||1||2||3||Total|
|Pembroke Lumber Kings||5||15||3||23|
|Player of the Game|
|Pembroke Lumber Kings||1 Francis Dupuis|
|Vernon Vipers||28 Adam Thompson|
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Ryan Robins Manager, Marketing Services