Camrose Kodiaks 6 - Oakville Blades 1
KODIAKS’ THREE SHORTHANDED GOALS HELP SEND BLADES PACKING
Just how good are the Camrose Kodiaks?
They rested their starting goaltender, their top defenseman and the 2008 RBC Canadian Junior A Player of the Year, and still had little trouble with a motivated Oakville Blades team on Thursday night.
Player of the game Jesse Todd scored shorthanded twice in 6:02 in the second period and set up Mike Connolly for another goal while a man down in the middle frame as the Kodiaks completed a perfect round robin at the 2008 RBC Cup with a 6-1 win over the Blades.
The win means that the Kodiaks will face the Pictou County Weeks Crushers in Saturday’s first semi-final (2:00 p.m. ET), while the Blades, the OPJHL and Dudley Hewitt Cup champions, will watch the weekend’s playoff action from the sidelines.
Having already wrapped up first place thanks to their 2-1 win over the Cornwall Colts on Wednesday, the Kodiaks rested goaltender Allen York, blueliner Karl Stollery and national player of the year Joe Colborne in order to get all of their players a taste of game action.
The missing firepower didn’t seem to hurt the Pacific Region champions.
Despite needing a win to advance, the Blades found themselves on the defensive side of the puck for much of the first period, and were in a 1-0 hole after Andre Herman’s wraparound banked off the skate of goaltender Oliver Wren and in.
The Blades finally showed signs of life early in the second period, as Nick McParland – Oakville player of the game – cut into the middle of the ice and rifled a shot over the glove of Camrose netminder Mathieu Larochelle to draw the Central Region champions even at 1-1.
They had a chance to grab their first lead of the game when the Kodiaks were whistled for four consecutive minor penalties midway through the period, but instead found themselves down by three goals after a remarkable shorthanded flurry by Camrose.
Todd got it started with a stirring solo effort, snapping the puck past Wren from his knees, and scored his second just over six minutes later, taking a gorgeous cross-ice feed from Connolly and beating a sprawling Wren.
Todd returned the favour 1:44 later, setting up Connolly for another shorthanded marker, which spelled the end of the night, and the tournament, for Wren.
Craig Rylett was welcomed into the Oakville net by David Jacobsen, who beat the 16-year-old with the first shot he faced, making it 5-1 heading into the second intermission.
Herman rounded out the scoring in the third period with a rocket over the glove of Rylett.
The National Junior A Championship takes a day off on Friday for its awards banquet before Saturday’s semi-finals.
In addition to the Kodiaks/Crushers match-up, the late game will see the host Cornwall Colts face the Humboldt Broncos at 7:00 p.m. ET, where the Colts will look to avenge a 7-0 loss to the Broncos in the tournament opener last Saturday.