Despite a furious third-period rally, the Victoria Junior A Shamrocks couldn’t close the deal in the opening game of the Minto Cup Final.
The Orangeville Northmen from Ontario held on for a 10-8 win at the Langley Events Centre on Wednesday, capitalizing on six of 11 power-play opportunities, with three of those coming in the decisive third period.
After falling behind 5-1 after the first period and 7-2 after two, the Shamrocks cut the lead to two goals on three different occasions in the final 20 minutes., but couldn’t get closer than within two goals.
Orangeville coach Bruce Codd credited the Shamrocks for battling back in a media release.
“We took our eye off the focus a little bit and maybe got a little undisciplined at the end of the second period, which allowed them to get a bit of momentum,” Codd noted. “And credit to Victoria, they worked really hard to get themselves back in the game.”
Codd said the Northmen’s power play, which has been sailing along at a .643 percentage clip in the round-robin, moved the ball around well and hit the shots when they had to.
Shamrocks assistant coach Mike Pires said his team cannot continue to fall behind by large margins, especially against a talented team like the Northmen.
“We can’t keep spotting them big leads at the start,” he noted. “It is hard to dig out of a hole, especially against that team. We need to be better early and better for 60 minutes.”
Pires said the team needs to avoid penalties and play with more discipline. “Their power play is too good and too talented to give them that many opportunities. We will deal with that and work through it and try and keep building off a positive third period.”
Dylan Watson, with seven goals, was named player of the game for Orangeville. Patrick Dodds earned the nod for the Shamrocks with two goals and an assist. Jackson Boyd had a goal and four assists for Victoria, while Caleb Kueber and Austin Madronic had three-point games on the strength of two goals each.
Shamrocks netminder Cameron Dunkerley made 57 saves on 67 shots, and Northmen Rylan Hartley stopped 31 shots.
Game two goes tonight (Thursday, Aug. 22 at 7 p.m.) followed by game three at 7 p.m. Friday at 7. Games four and five, if necessary, are scheduled for Sunday and Monday, with all games at 7 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.
For more information, visit mintocup2019.com.