YOUNG NATIONALS DOWN TROJANS, BOOK SEMIFINAL SPOT
JASON LA ROSE
THUNDER BAY, Ont. – Peter Stojcevski opened and closed the scoring for the Toronto Young Nationals, sending them into the semifinals at the 2019 TELUS Cup with a 4-2 win over the Tisdale Trojans in the final preliminary-round game for both Friday afternoon.
The Young Nationals are into the semifinals for the second year in a row; they will wait for the result of the Halifax-Calgary game later in the day to find out who and when they play on Saturday.
The Trojans, meanwhile, need a Calgary win or a tie to put them into the weekend.
Tisdale got the quick start it wanted when Trenton Curtis jumped on a juicy rebound in the slot at 8:37, but the Young Nationals would strike twice before the end of the first period.
Stojcevski tied it just past the midway mark, knocking in a backhand after Ryan Mansfield threw the puck on net, and Nick Enero scored on a floater from the blue-line that seemed to fool Tisdale goaltender Tanner Martin.
Joshua Sinanan extended the advantage to 3-1 early in the second period when he slipped a shot under the pad of Martin, but Jayden Wiens picked off a pass at the Toronto blue-line and beat Young Nationals netminder James Gray for a shorthanded marker only 2:15 later.
Stojcevski gave the GTHL champions a little breathing room in the final minute of the middle frame, popping the water bottle over the blocker of Martin to make it a 4-2 game after 40 minutes.
Gray was the story of the third period, making 20 of his 36 saves in the final stanza as the Trojans buzzed around the Toronto net looking to kick-start their comeback.
The win ensures a Central Region team will be part of the semifinals for the eighth year in a row and the 10th time in 12 years. Prior to Sudbury winning the national title in 2008, the first by the region, Central teams had qualified just three times in the previous decade.