By Larry Robertson, Special to The News
Dundas Real McCoys general manger Don Robertson appears to have cornered the market on hockey talent this season…could it be that what many people believe to be true is that Robertson has a garage full of goalies.
Last Friday the McCoys appeared to be on the ropes following the recent injury to Neil Clelland, who was re-signed late in the campaign as the club’s third goalie to provide depth if Jeff Maund and Bryan Worosz were injured. Guess what…Maund and Worosz did get injured and then Clelland caught the bug.
The answer was a simple one.Robertson brought in Brock Novak, an affiliate player from the Burlington Cougars of the Provincial Junior A Hockey League. The move has reaped dividends for Dundas as the 19-year-old netminder backstopped the club to back-to-back wins last week at Brantford and at home.
“Novak will stay with us for the remainder of the John Ross Robertson Cup series. We do not know what his plans are down the road, however, I suspect that he has his eyes on playing in the NCAA,” said Robertson.
However, Robertson’s stockpiling of talent does not end there. Last Sunday, the home fans were treated to the return of one of the club’s stars both on and off the ice — Rick Vaive. His return this time was in a coaching role.
“Rick and I have stayed in touch since he played and coached here in the early 2000s. We knew that with Spud (Ken Mann) and Bernie (Ron Bernacci) would miss part of the Robertson Cup final if we made it that far, so we signed Vaive in February to help on the bench when the other guys were away.”
Last Sunday at Grightmire Arena, Justin Davis broke the hearts of the Brantford Blast fans when he lifted the puck home from the left side of the Brantford net at 7:18 of the third period.
The goal proved to be the game winner as Dundas battled its way to a 5-3 victory and a 2-0 game-lead in the best-of-seven Robertson Cup.
Two nights previous in Brantford, the McCoys scored four times in the third period and posted the first of two 5-3 victories over the Blast.
Dundas now leads the series 2-0. Game 3 is at Brantford Friday night (March 15) at 7:30 p.m. and Game 4 is back at Dundas on Sunday, March 17, 7:30 p.m. The winner of the Robertson Cup will advance against the Kenora Thistles for the Renwick Cup title, March 29-30.
“Every playoff game has been well played and close,” said Robertson.
“Each one has been a one-goal game except the wins that involved empty net goals.
This speaks volumes about the competitiveness of our league (Allan Cup Hockey). I suspect that the balance of this series will remain the same. This is outstanding Senior hockey, and the fans are certainly getting their money’s worth.”
In the second game of the series on Sunday night in Dundas, Davis scored three times, once even-strength before adding the game-winner on a power-play and a final one into an empty net in the third period. Darryl Smith contributed a goal and three assists with Scott Stafford getting the other goal.
McKee set up two of the Dundas scoring plays.
In Brantford, the score was a complete turn-around from the regular season play between the two clubs.
Ryan Christie, Stafford, and Darryl Smith each notched a goal and an assist while TJ Sakaluk and Cam Watson added single goals.