An eight-goal second period helped the Orangeville Northmen pull away from the Coquitlam Adanacs and get a leg up in the quest for a bye into the Minto Cup best-of-five championship series next week.
The Northmen and Coquitlam Adanacs were knotted at three goals apiece following 20 minutes but an 8-2 burst in the middle stanza provided all the cushion the Ontario visitors would need as they improved to 2-0 thanks to a 12-7 win on day two of the 2019 Minto Cup Junior A National Championship at Langley Events Centre on Saturday night.
The Adanacs sit at 1-1, needing a victory in Sunday’s final game vs. Victoria (0-2) to secure at least one more game. The Northmen face the 1-1 Okotoks Raiders in the first game on Sunday. An Orangeville victory would earn them two days off as the championship series does not begin until Wednesday.
On Saturday, Curtis Bukta and Tanner Buck struck for goals 11 seconds apart to open the second period and snap the tie game and the Northmen were on their way to the victory.
“We made some key plays at key times,” said Northmen coach Bruce Codd. “We had some good execution and some timely goals and I thought we made some good adjustments on the back door to keep them on the outside for the most part.”
Jonathan Donville led the Northmen attack with a goal and five assists and he had plenty of help up front. Ty Thompson had a goal and four helpers while Dylan Watson (three goals, one assist), Sam Firth (two goals, two assists) and Kyle Waters (two goals, two assists) all had four-point games. Zach Deaken had the other goal.
Rylan Hartley made 41 saves for the victory.
The shots in the game were relatively even with Orangeville holding the slim 49-48 advantage.
“They are a good team and they really buried their opportunities,” summed up Adanacs coach Pat Coyle. “You look at the shots, they were pretty even. I thought they shot better than us and they finished their (possessions) better than us.”
Dennon Armstrong was the lone Adanac to score multiple goals, finishing with a pair, and he was one of four players with two points, alongside Haiden Dickson (one goal, one assist), Braydon Cresswell (one goal, one assist) and Colin Munro (two assists). Reid Bowering, Ethan Ticehurst and Thomas Semple each scored once in the defeat while Nate Faccin made 30 saves in the defeat.
The Northmen’s Firth and the Adanacs’ Bowering won their teams’ respective player of the game awards.
With one game left to play in the round-robin, the Northmen are in full control of whether they earn top spot or not. A victory ensures that while a loss to Okotoks could mean it comes down to a tiebreaker.
“We don’t want to get into a goals for, goals against, three-way tie scenario because we don’t control that,” Codd said.
For the Adanacs, a victory ensures they play in at least Monday’s semifinal while a loss to Victoria could mean their tournament is over (if Okotoks defeats Orangeville). A loss and an Okotoks defeat would mean a three-way tiebreaker as the Adanacs, Raiders and Shamrocks would all be 1-2 and one team would be left out of the playoff round. Conversely, a Coquitlam victory coupled with an Okotoks win over the Northmen would leave all three at 2-1 and another three-way tiebreaker to see who gets a few days off.
As for Coyle’s message to his team, it was fairly straightforward: “We have a game tomorrow. That’s it.”