By Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News
It may not have been the prettiest goal Cam Watson ever scored, but the third period marker was the difference in Dundas Real McCoys 4-3 win over South East Prairie Thunder in the Allan Cup at J.L. Grightmire Arena, Monday night.
“It doesn’t get much luckier than that – but I’ll take it,” Watson said after the game. “Their goalie had been playing the puck all night, so we wanted to pressure him.”
As Watson stormed the net to apply that pressure, Steve Christie of the Manitoba representatives gathered the puck and tried to shoot around him. But the puck hit Watson’s stick and rebounded straight past Christie and into the net to break a 3-3 tie.
Earlier in the evening, the shoe was on the other foot. Playing with a 1-0 lead half way through the first period, Dundas’ Dave Bowman sent what should have been a clearing shot directly onto the stick of Prairie Thunder’s Brad Purdie who immediately sent a rising shot past Dundas goalie Mike Mole.
Prairie Thunder took the lead with a penalty shot goal by Ryan St. Laurent to open the second period.
It was a tight, but fast paced opening game for both teams – where the team that capitalized on chances when the opponent made a mistake, took the advantage. Dundas held on to their advantage longer.
“I don’t know if it was miscommunication between the goalie and defence,” Prairie Thunder head coach Jamie Leach said of the game winning goal. “It’s one of those things that happens in hockey.”
Leach agreed it was the little details – a defenceman’s failed clearing pass in the first frame, and a goalie’s failed attempt to play the puck – that made the difference. But little details making the difference doesn’t come as a surprise.
“We’ve got so many veteran players – we rely on the little details,” Leach said.
“We fought for everything out there. Dundas capitalized on our mistakes.”
Leach said he was proud his players didn’t hang their heads, particularly after what turned out to be the winning goal. Prairie Thunder put some pressure on – but Dundas was able to kill a 5 on 3 power play mid-way through the final frame.
Mole stopped 26 shots for the win, while Christie faced 36 shots from Dundas and stopped 32 in the loss.
Dundas’ goals were scored by Jordan Foreman, Simon Mangos, Nick Smith and Watson.
Jason Ward and Ryan Christie each had two assists in the second period. Blair Stayzer added one assist.
Some Dundas players were joined on the ice for the Allan Cup national amateur hockey championship opening ceremonies.
The Real McCoys take their 1-0 record into Tuesday night's match with Bentley Generals of Alberta, the powerful defending Allan Cup champions - who are playing their first game of this year's tournament against Dundas Tuesday night.
Kenora Thistles meet the Clarenville Caribous of Newfoundland in Tuesday's afternoon game. Kenora brings an 0-1 record after dropping its opener to Brantford 5-4 Monday afternoon. The Caribous, a finalist in last year's Allan Cup, play their first game of this year's tournament in the 3:30 p.m. game.