A two-week layoff doesn’t concern Dave Allison as the Superior International Junior Hockey League champion Borderland Thunder looks forward to the Dudley-Hewitt Cup championship.
“We’ll scrimmage this week,” said Borderland head coach Allison. “We’ll be prepared.”
Allison gave Borderland players the weekend off after they won the league championship 4-1 in a best-of-seven final against the Thunder Bay, Ont., KC Bulldogs, which ended April 8.
Borderland, from Fort Frances, Ont., and Thunder Bay will represent the SIJHL in the four-team Dudley-Hewitt Cup tournament April 22-26 in Fort Frances.
The Northern Ontario Junior ‘A’ Hockey League champion North Bay Skyhawks and the Ontario Provincial Junior ‘A’ Hockey League champion will also compete for the Dudley-Hewitt Cup. The Dudley-Hewitt Cup champion will qualify for the Royal Bank Cup national junior A championship May 3-11 in Charlottetown, P. E. I.
Goalie Dan Hoehne, 19, was among the leaders as Borderland had an 8-1 playoff record to improve to 41-13-5 and two overtime losses in 61 games overall.
Borderland swept the Dryden, Ont., IceDogs in a best-of-seven semi-final and outscored the opposition 36-22 in its playoff run.
“We were fortunate to sign Hoehne,” said Allison, who coached the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League in 2001-02 and coached professionally for nine seasons.
“He has really given us confidence, as a team. He settled our goaltending.
“Dan is very focused, and a calming influence.”
Hoehne led league playoff goalies with a 2.44 goals against average, .913 saves percentage, 8-1 won-lost record and two shutouts in 540 minutes. He has a 2.56 goals against average, four shutouts and a 25-8-1 won-lost-tied record in 2,065 minutes overall.
Veteran Matt Johnston is Borderland’s leading scorer, with 30 goals and 76 points in 60 games overall. Johnston tied for eighth in the league with 68 points, including 44 assists, in 51 regular-season games.
“Matt is able to raise his level of play in certain situations and is able to play all three forward positions,” said Allison.
Allison was the head coach of the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League for 25 games in 1995-96 and also coached in the International Hockey League. He points out that three other Borderland forwards are versatile enough to play left wing, centre and right wing.
“We have a lot of different personalities,” said Allison. “We have good depth.”
Kevin Webb is Borderland’s second leading scorer, with 26 goals and 54 points in 53 games overall. Defenceman Kurt Hogard led the team with 10 points, including six assists, in nine playoff games.
“Chris Shaen and Jay Phillips are stalwarts at the back end,” said Allison. “Hogard and John Kocis had quality minutes in the playoffs.
“Hogard scored some timely goals.”
Shaen was fifth among league defencemen with 31 points, including 23 assists, in 52 regular-season games. He had seven assists in nine playoff games.
Phillips was ninth among league defencemen with 27 points, also including 23 assists, in 50 regular-season games.
A.J. Tucker, Chad Baldwin and Kyle Prystupa were Borderland’s other leading scorers during the regular schedule, two points behind Webb with 45 points each.
Tucker, 19, and Baldwin, 21 had 19 goals each, in 39 and 52 games, respectively. Prystupa scored 16 times in 51 games.
Allison has special incentive to make it to Charlottetown for the Royal Bank Cup. That’s because his nine-year-old daughter was born there when he coached the Senators’ AHL affiliate and he has fond memories of P. E. I.
Please check the CJAHL web site at www.cjahl.com for all your Canadian junior A information