VICTORIA, B.C. – The Vernon Vipers and Humboldt Broncos will meet for the 2009 RBC Cup, Canada’s 39th National Junior A Championship, after posting semifinal wins on Friday at Bear Mountain Arena. The Vipers defeated the Kingston Voyageurs 6-2 while the Broncos topped the host team, the Victoria Grizzlies, 3-2 in overtime.
Regardless of the outcome, history will be made on Sunday – a win by Vernon gives it five national championships, more than any team in tournament history, while a Humboldt victory makes it the first team since the Vernon Lakers in 19 to repeat as national champions. A win by the Broncos would also make them one of only three teams to claim three national titles, joining Vernon (1990, 1991, 1996, 1999) and the Prince Albert Raiders (1977, 1979, 1981, 1982).
In Friday’s early semifinal, the Vipers jumped out to a 5-0 lead after 40 minutes en route to the win. Through two periods, Vernon had almost as many goals (five) as Kingston had shots on goal (seven). Bryce Kakoske finished with two goals and two assists to pace the offence, while Cameron Brodie chipped in with a pair of goals of his own. Mike Collins and Cory Kane had the other goals for the Vipers.
In the late game, Shawn Hunter was the overtime hero, poking a loose puck past Victoria netminder Anthony Grieco with just 2.3 seconds remaining in the first extra frame. Humboldt captain Brady Wacker scored an unassisted goal early in the third period to pull the Broncos even for the second time in the game and force overtime. Matthew Kirzinger – making his first appearance of the tournament after missing Humboldt’s first four games due to injury – scored the other goal for the Broncos.
The teams’ round-robin meeting on Monday was a one-sided affair, with the Vipers rolling to a 7-1 victory. Seven different players scored goals for Vernon, while Rob Short, Kyle Bigos, Braden Pimm all had three-point nights in the victory. The game marked the first-ever meeting between two of the winningest programs in Junior A hockey – the two teams have combined for six national titles since 1990.
Sunday’s championship game can be seen live on TSN2 at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcast on tape delay on the main TSN network at 11:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. PT.
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