FIVE PLAYERS SCORE, MUSTANGS BEAT THUNDERBIRDS FOR FIRST RBC CUP WIN
JASON LA ROSE
PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. – The Melfort Mustangs scored three times in less than two minutes in the first half of the first period to take an early lead, and held off a third-period push to earn a 5-3 win over the Soo Thunderbirds in Monday’s lone game at the 2015 RBC Cup.
The victory is the first of the tournament for the Mustangs, who jumped into a three-way tie for second place at 1-1 with the Penticton Vees and Portage Terriers as the preliminary round reached the halfway mark.
Adam Fauchoux, Regan Wilton and Eric Young scored for Melfort in a span of 1:54 in the first period, while Travis Mayan and Dexter Bricker added goals in the second.
Owen Headrick scored twice and Matt Caruso added one for Soo, which dropped to 0-2.
Both coming off shutout losses in their tournament openers, the Mustangs and Thunderbirds came out firing in search of an early goal, and Fauchoux got it for Melfort at 6:39 when he took a pass in the slot from David Heath and snapped a shot past Soo goaltender Brian Kment.
Wilton doubled the lead just 16 seconds later, and Young beat Kment up top from a sharp angle at 8:33 to make it 3-0 and chase Kment, who gave up three goals on 10 shots.
Mario Culina went the rest of the way for the Thunderbirds, stopping 20 of 22.
Mayan, the runaway scoring leader in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League this season, scored his first goal in nine games for a 4-0 advantage just 1:57 into the second period; he last found the back of the net in Game 3 of the SJHL final on April 15.
Headrick finally got the first goal of the tournament for Soo at 4:39 of the middle frame, but Bricker converted a tap-in after hard work down low by Dakota Boutin to restore the four-goal lead after 40 minutes.
The Thunderbirds managed just four shots in the third period (and 19 overall) but made good on two of them to get within a pair and add a little excitement to the final minutes.
Caruso scored the 5-2 goal five minutes into the period, showing off his quick hands in close before slipping a shot under Melfort goaltender Richard Palmer, and Headrick’s shot from the point made its way through traffic and past Palmer to cap the scoring at 12:41.
Melfort will watch from the sidelines Tuesday before facing the Carleton Place Canadians on Wednesday night (7 p.m. CT), while the Thunderbirds are back on the ice at the PCU Centre on Tuesday night to face the host Portage Terriers (7 p.m. CT).