While big boys continue to duke it out in their respective MSL and WLA finals, the Junior A boys will have a champ by the end of the weekend. It could come as early as Saturday in the best-of-3 Minto Cup finals as the Orangeville Northmen and the Coquitlam Adanacs face off. If the Adanacs win, it’ll be their second title in 3 seasons. If it’s the Hornheads, it’ll be title No. 3 in 5 seasons. Either way, it’s an impressive run for both squads and you can believe there won’t be anything left on the floor by the time the weekend is wrapped up. “This is what we came here for, this is what the players were focused on,” Adanacs coach Neil Dinsdale told Coquitlam Now. “We succeeded in our first goal.” Your weekend primer follows.
Peterborough won the first 2 games of the MSL finals and looked to be in control before the Chiefs got back into the series with Tuesday night’s win. But the Lakers are back in the driver’s seat after Thursday’s win, secured by Mark Steenhuis’ second goal of the game. The Lakers can wrap up the series and their second trip to the Mann Cup in 3 seasons with a victory at Six Nations on Saturday. The Chiefs are 4-1 at home during the playoffs this season, but the Lakers are equally at good on the road with an identical 4-1 mark. If Six Nations can extend the series, the teams will head to Game 6 at Peterborough on Wednesday.
Game 5: Peterborough at Six Nations, Saturday, 7 p.m.
*Game 6: Six Nations at Peterborough, Wednesday, 8 p.m.
*Game 7: Peterborough at Six Nations, Thursday, 8 p.m.
*- if necessary
The Thunder opened with a surprisingly strong defensive effort, or maybe that defense has been there all season but overshadowed by the potent offensive lineup. Coquitlam got it figured out in time for Game 2 to win and tie the series, which has been a physical one so far. For proof, we offer last night’s Game 3 as evidence. Langley won, 9-5, to take a 2-1 series lead but the game saw 3 separate unsportsmanlike conduct penalties (2 minutes) handed out and 4 separate unsportsmanlike conduct misconducts (10 minutes) handed out. Saturday’s matchup in Coquitlam will be interesting and as tempting as revenge may be, the team that fights that urge and stays out of the box stands the best chance. Langley will either have a commanding lead in the series, or we’ll be back to ground zero with a tied series.
The schedule (local time)
Game 4: Langley at Coquitlam, Saturday, 7:45 p.m.
Game 5: Coquitlam at Langley, Monday, 7:45 p.m.
*Game 6: Langley at Coquitlam, Wednesday, 7:45 p.m.
*Game 7: Coquitlam at Langley, Friday, 7:45 p.m.
*- if necessary
It’s a rematch of the 2010 finals, won by Coquitlam in 2 games, and these teams know each other well. Current Northmen Jeremy Noble, Rob Hellyer, Cody McMahon and goalie Dillon Ward were on that 2010 Orangeville team, while today’s Coquitlam team includes Ben McIntosh, Robert Church, Matt Dinsdale, Wes Berg and Jeff Cornwall, who were on the 2010 team. It makes sense that the 2 teams in the finals have the 2 goalies with the best numbers. Ward has been here before for Orangeville, and he’s been the best so far with a 4.38 goals-against average and a .892 save percentage. For Coquitlam, Ontario product David DiRuscio is right behind Ward with a 7.41 goals-against and a save percentage of .847. But if there’s one matchup that’ll bear close attention, it’s special teams. The Orangemen have been lights out on penalty kills, allowing just 3 power-play goals and come in at 76%. Coquitlam, meanwhile, has thrived with the extra man, scoring 13 goals on 23 chances (56%). On the flip, the Adanacs have been nearly as impressive on the kill (56%) while the Northmen have scored just 9 goals on 26 chances (34%). In the 5-on-5 sets, the Orangemen – by far – have been the stingiest defense in giving up just 13 goals in their 3 games (4.3 per game), while the A’s have been a bit more leaky by letting in 9.7 per game (39 goals in 4 games). Both offenses are very capable, so which defense rises to the occasion may have the most to say in which team hoists the coveted Minto Cup some Saturday or Sunday.
The schedule (best-of-3 finals)
Friday: 8 p.m.
Saturday: 8 p.m.
Sunday: 8 p.m.
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