It wasn’t pretty, but the Hawkesbury Hawks are still alive and kicking at the Royal Bank Cup. And they’re just two wins away from taking the trophy home to Ontario.
The East region champs (1-3) waited until they absolutely had to have a win, knocking off the Portage Terriers 5-4 in double-overtime Thursday night to claim their first RBC victory and the last semi-final berth.
With a new lease on life, the Hawks move on to face the host Weyburn Red Wings, who locked up the top seed with a 3-1 record in the round-robin.
Weyburn took the first meeting between the two teams with an entertaining 4-3 overtime win Wednesday. The Wings blew an early two-goal lead, but rallied to send the game to overtime with 58.7 seconds left. Kent Lillejord scored the winner 1:59 into overtime.
Hawkesbury will look for another big game from Mathieu Picard, who scored four goals against Portage, including the overtime winner. He has a tournament-best total of six in four games.
The Red Wings counter with a balanced attack, a stout defense and a hot goaltender in Brenden Cuthbert. The Weyburn keeper leads all RBC goalies with a 1.95 goals against average, a .934 save percentage and three wins.
In the other semi-final, the Camrose Kodiaks (3-1) face the Georgetown Raiders (2-2).
The Kodiaks and the Raiders were considered by many to be the pre-tournament favourites after combining to lose only 15 regular-season games this year. Camrose won the round-robin game between the two teams 2-1 on Thursday. However, that game can hardly be considered a barometer because both teams rested key players because the semi-final match-up between the two teams was already set.
Georgetown will look to slow Camrose’s dazzling top line of Mason Raymond, Chance Olsen and Kyle Parkes. Raymond, who picked up two goals and four assists in three games, was named the tournament’s top forward on Friday. His teammate Travis Friedley was named the RBC’s most valuable player. The puck-moving rearguard leads tournament defensemen in scoring with five points.
Georgetown will counter with a deep and physical forward corps led by Kevin Harvey, and ninth-round draft choice of the Calgary Flames in 2003. Goaltender John Barrow, who registered the tournament’s only shutout, boasts a 2.33 goals against average and a .922 save percentage.
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