GENERALS REWARD LOCALS WITH THIRD PERIOD RALLY EN ROUTE TO TIE
MOOSE JAW, Sask. – Dawson Davidson and Ben Verrall scored 57 seconds apart midway through the third period, helping the host Moose Jaw Generals earn a 2-2 tie with the Halifax McDonald’s in the opening game for both Monday at the 2014 TELUS Cup.
The Generals earned only a single point despite outshooting Halifax 40-14, including 15-1 in the third period.
Macs goaltender Justin Ritcey, back for his second consecutive appearance at Canada’s National Midget Championship after playing for the Valley Wildcats last year in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., was the story, finishing with 38 saves, many of the spectacular variety.
Jordan Yochoff and Luc Poirier had the goals for Halifax, which is now 3-1-1 in all-time tournament-opening games at the national championship.
Yochoff added an assist for a two-point night.
The Macs took advantage of the Generals’ rust after a 45-day layoff, striking first just 5:25 in when Yochoff ripped a shot over the glove of Moose Jaw netminder Grant Naherniak.
Halifax took a physical approach in the early going, keeping the Generals hemmed into their own zone for long stretches of time in the opening minutes, taking advantage of a team that hadn’t seen game action in more than six weeks.
Despite the early pressure, it was the Generals who took a 12-6 advantage in shots on goal into the first intermission.
Halifax struck quickly in the second period – on its first shot – to double its lead; Yochoff fed Poirier on a two-on-one, leaving the Macs’ leading regular season scorer with nothing but an empty net to shoot at.
Once again, though, it was Moose Jaw who carried the play, outshooting the Atlantic Region champions 13-7 in the middle frame, and 25-13 through 40 minutes.
The Generals’ offensive show continued in the third period, but time and time again Ritcey was there to slam the door, keeping his team’s two-goal advantage intact.
But finally, at the 8:43 mark, the Generals broke through, and it was Davidson getting the pro-Moose crowd out of its seats, toe-dragging around a Macs defenceman before going five-hole on Ritcey for the 2-1 goal.
Fifty-seven seconds later the game was tied, with Verrall blasting a drop pass from Josh Miller that went off the shin of a Halifax defender and past Ritcey.
At that point, the Macs had yet to register a shot on goal in the third period; that came with 3:02 to go, and was the lone Halifax shot in the final frame.
The Generals return to the ice at Mosaic Place on Tuesday night, facing the Okanagan Rockets at 7 p.m. MT, while Halifax takes on the Toronto Young Nationals at 4 p.m. MT in the middle game of the day.