By Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News
Dundas Real McCoys earned a spot in the Allan Cup semi-finals – and an extra day’s rest – with a big 6-2 win over defending national champion Bentley Generals, Tuesday night.
Ryan Christie scored a short-handed goal to give Dundas a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period, and assisted on Nick Smith’s second period goal that gave Dundas a 4-1 lead with a beautiful pass to Smith next to Bentley’s net. Christie was named Dundas’ player of the game and recognized the significance of the Real McCoys going undefeated in the round-robin section of the tournament.
“It meant a lot because now we have two days off. We’re not spring chickens anymore,” Christie said. “It’s two days off after two tough games.”
Tuesday night’s 6-2 win over a team widely recognized as one of the tournament’s best follows a hard-fought 4-3 win over South East Prairie Thunder Monday night. Both games – particularly the Bentley win – were punishing physically and quick-skating affairs.
“There’s a lot going on out there on the ice,” said one of the more thoughtful fans crowded into J.L. Grightmire Arena Tuesday night.
Christie said Dundas doesn’t really know any of the teams they are facing in this year’s Allan Cup – beyond arch-rival Brantford Blast. So preparing for individual teams and their particular styles isn’t a useful strategy.
“We knew we’d have to play six good teams, so we have to play our best. We just have to play our best,” Christie said.
Greg Stewart scored two goals for Dundas Tuesday night against Bentley.Nearly 12 minutes after Kyle Bailey gave the Alberta powerhouse a 1-0 lead within one minute of puck-drop, Stewart tied up the affair With Bentley appearing on the brink of a comeback following Bailey’s second goal of the game to cut the score to 4-2, Stewart found the net again.
“We knew Bentley were a strong team and played a fast game,” Stewart said. “We implemented a system in the past two games and we’ve played solid hockey.”
Mike Mole stopped 27 of 29 Bentley shots. Dundas managed 31 shots on Bentley’s Travis Yonkman – he stopped 25 of them.
“We didn’t play our best game. There’s no sugar-coating it,” Bentley head coach Ryan Tobler said. “We’ll be better.”
Tobler said the Generals have to play with an urgency that wasn’t there in their first game of the Allan Cup tournament. Dundas appeared to play with that urgency much of the game – fighting for the 2-0 record, the bye into the semi-final, and the extra day off.
Kyle Bailey, who scored both of Bentley’s goals – including a short-handed marker in the third period, and an even strength score one minute into the game that gave the visitors their only lead of the game – said Dundas took advantage of the Generals’ miscues.
“Credit to them. They got the better of us. They capitalized on our mistakes,” Bailey said. “Big two-on-one’s are really uncharacteristic for our club. It wasn’t our best effort today, but it wasn’t horrible. We did some things well.”
Bentley and Dundas were nearly even with 11 and 13 shots on net, respectively, in the opening frame. Dundas outshot Bentley 11 to 9 in the second period, while Bentley had the advantage 9-7 in the final frame.
“One thing I know has to change – we weren’t as strong on the puck as we’ve been all year,” Bailey said.
But the defending champs aren’t worried, or getting down on themselves. Bailey and Tobler made it clear they have too much Allan Cup experience to panic after an opening game loss.
“It’s not an elimination game,” Bailey said. “You’re not out until the third game. If you waste your time getting down you’ll be out of it.”
“The first thing you do after a loss is look in the mirror and think about what you can do better. There are things I can do better. It’s nice to see them go in, it’s nice to contribute, but when you contribute in a loss it doesn’t mean anything.”
Justin Davis had a goal and two assists for Dundas in the win. Scott Mifsud added a single goal. Dave Bowman, Simon Mangos and Cam Watson each added an assist.
Bentley meets South East Prairie Thunder Wednesday night at 7:30 for their second game of the Allan Cup tournament round-robin.