Vipers cup dream ends
UPDATE 10 P.M. - The Yorkton Terriers will face the Carleton Place Canadians in the 2014 RBC Cup final at Kal Tire Place in Vernon.
The Canadians upset round robin winners Dauphin Kings 5-3 in Saturday's second semi-final.
Andy Sturtz had a goal and two assists, breaking out of a tournament-long scoring slump to lead the Canadians to the victory.
Carleton Place is into the final in its first appearance at the national championship; the Canadians are in just their fifth season of existence, having made the jump from Junior B in 2009.
Anthony McVeigh scored twice for Carleton Place, while Luke Edwards and Dylan Gareau added singles.
Dylan Butler, Tanner Butler and Brayden Cuthbert replied for Dauphin.
Dauphin led 2-1 after 20 minutes and held a 3-2 lead midway through the second before Carleton Place roared back with three unanswered goals.
Sturtz tied it 43 seconds after Dauphin had assumed a one goal lead just past the 12 minute mark of the second.
Gareau scored what proved to be the game winner at 10:43 of the third while McVeigh, with his second of the night into an empty net, sealed the win.
Sunday's championship game begins at 4:30.
The Vernon Vipers dream of winning an unprecedented seventh national Jr. A hockey championship came to an end Saturday.
The Yorkton Terriers ended Vernon's season one game short of the final with a 6-3 win in the first of two semi-finals at the RBC Cup at Kal Tire Place.
Yorkton will face the winner of the second semi-final between Dauphin and Carleton Place.
The Vipers dug themselves a pair of two goal holes - the second of which they were not able to come back from.
Trailing 2-0, the Vipers clawed their way back with a pair of power-play goals.
Brett Mulcahy's deflection late in the first and Michael Michael McNicholas on a one-timer from about 15 feet out early in the second got the Vipers even.
But goals on two of their first three shots 2:42 apart midway through the second put the Terriers up by two - a lead they would not relinquish.
Both goals appeared to be harmless wrist shots that somehow made it through a screen and past Smith.
The second goal, the Terriers fourth on just eight shots spelled the end of Austin Smith's day in the Vernon net.
He was replaced by back-up Danny Todosychuk, who also came in for Smith after allowing two goals on five shots in the first period against Dauphin on Tuesday.
"Good question," was all coach Jason Williamson could respond with when asked what happened to Smith's game the past few nights.
"I think it was just wear and tear. We've been at it for a while," offered up Todosychuk. I think he was just tired. He played a lot...he played every single minute in the playoffs and I think it probably started to build up on him."
Dexter Dancs pulled the Vipers to within a goal before the second period ended but Vernon was unable to mount much sustained pressure in the third.
"We just simplified the game a little bit," Yorkton coach Trent Cassan said of the third period.
"I think sometimes the guys were trying to make it too hard and looking for the drop passes in the zone entries a lot of the time. If you give a team like Vernon turnovers like that unforced they can come back and it can be in the back of your net pretty quick."
The Vipers had a glorious opportunity to get the equalizer before the midway point of the third when the Terriers found themselves two men short for 25 seconds.
Vernon called a timeout but were unable to get a good scoring chance.
"We drew up the play and Josh (Bryan) had it right on a tee there and he just missed it. Not faulting him - sometimes that's the way it goes," said Williamson.
A pair of empty net goals in the final two minutes sealed the 6-3 win.
Williamson said the room was devastated after the loss knowing they came within a game of a chance to win the city's seventh national title.
"I'm proud of the group, proud of the things they did accomplish individually and as a team."
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