11 teams still in hunt to join host Fort Frances at Dudley-Hewitt Cup



Release Date: Monday, March 30, 2015

11 teams still in hunt to join host Fort Frances at Dudley-Hewitt Cup

FORT FRANCES, Ont. – Each of the three leagues that will be sending squads to the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Jr. A Championship, April 28 through May 2, at Ice for Kids Arena in Fort Frances are now down to their final four in the quest for their respective titles.

The champions of the Superior International Junior Hockey League, Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League and the Ontario Junior Hockey League will join the host Fort Frances Lakers at the five-day event.

Should the defending SIJHL title holding Lakers repeat as SIJHL winners, then the league finalist will round out the four-team field.

The following is a breakdown on how each of the final four clubs in the three leagues, that will send sides to Fort Frances for the Dudley-Hewitt Cup, are progressing:

SIJHL: Having also claimed their second consecutive regular season crown, the Fort Frances Lakers are taking on the Thunder Bay North Stars in one league semifinal.

They held serve taking the first two games in that best-of-seven set on home ice. They won 6-2 in the opener and pulled out a narrow 2-1 triumph in Game 2.

The series now shifts to the Fort William Gardens in Thunder Bay for Game 3 tonight and Game 4 Tuesday. Both match-ups feature a 7:30 p.m. start.

The SIJHL’s other semifinal has the No. 2 seed Minnesota Iron Rangers tied at 1-1 with the No. 3 Dryden GM Ice Dogs with Game 3 going this evening at Dryden’s Memorial Arena.

Each side won by identical 4-1 scores in the opening pair of contests held at Hoyt Lakes Arena.

Matthias Gardiman of the North Stars leads all skaters in SIJHL playoff scoring with seven points in five games on four goals and three assists.

Nathan Park of Fort Frances, the SIJHL’s top goaltender award recipient, leads the way in goals-against average and save percentage at 1.50 and .957 respectively.

The two surviving teams will then compete for the Bill Salonen Cup.

Fort Frances Lakers vs. Thunder Bay North Stars
Fort Frances leads best-of-seven series 2-0
Game 1: Fort Frances 6 Thunder Bay 2
Game 2: Fort Frances 2 Thunder Bay 1
Game 3: March 30 @ Thunder Bay 7:30 p.m.
Game 4: March 31 @ Thunder Bay 7:30 p.m.
Game 5*: April 2 @ Fort Frances 7:30 p.m.
Game 6*: April 4 @ Thunder Bay 7:30 p.m.
Game 7*: April 6 @ Fort Frances 7:30 p.m.
*-if necessary
Minnesota Iron Rangers vs. Dryden GM Ice Dogs
Best-of-seven series tied 1-1
Game 1: Dryden 4 Minnesota 1
Game 2: Minnesota 4 Dryden 1
Game 3: March 30 @ Dryden 7:30 p.m.
Game 4: March 31 @ Dryden 7:30 p.m.
Game 5: April 2 @ Minnesota 7 p.m.
Game 6*: April 4 @ Dryden 7:30 p.m.
Game 7*: April 6 @ Minnesota 7 p.m.
*-if necessary

NOJHL: A perennial power in the NOJHL, the Soo Thunderbirds, look to take command of their West Division final vs. the Elliot Lake Wildcats in Game 3 tonight as Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie.

The Thunderbirds have taken each of the first two contests in that series by identical 5-2 scores.

In the NOJHL East final, a pair of first-year clubs, has the Cochrane Crunch up 2-0 on the Powassan Voodoos after taking their initial two match-ups at the Tim Horton Event Centre.

The series now shifts to the Powassan Sportsplex for Game 3 & 4, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Voodoos, who played the first two contests with league most valuable player and rookie of the year Steve Harland, advanced to the divisional final after upsetting the defending league champion Kirkland Lake Gold Miners in quarter-final play.

There is currently a four-way tie for the NOJHL playoff scoring lead with Dustin Cordeiro of Cochrane, Cole Hepler of Elliot Lake and the Soo’s Matt Caruso and Jaren Bellini as that foursome have all amassed 14 points each entering play tonight.

The Thunderbirds netminding duo of Mario Culina and Brian Kment lead the way between the pipes in the postseason to date.

Culina is 2-0 with a 0.50 goals-against average and .967 save percentage while Kment is also unbeaten at 4-0 with a 1.00 average and .957 save mark. They also have three shutouts between them.

A berth in Copeland Cup – McNamara Trophy NOJHL final awaits the two series winners.

Soo Thunderbirds vs. Elliot Lake Wildcats
Soo leads best-of-seven series 2-0
Game 1: Soo 5 Elliot Lake 2
Game 2: Soo 5 Elliot Lake 2
Game 3: March 30 @ Soo 7:30 p.m.
Game 4: April 1 @ Elliot Lake 7:30 p.m.
Game 5*: April 4 @ Soo 7:30 p.m.
Game 6*: April 6 @ Elliot Lake 7:30 p.m.
Game 7*: April 8 @ Soo 7:30 p.m.
*-if necessary

Cochrane Crunch vs. Powassan Voodoos
Cochrane leads best-of-seven series 2-0
Game 1: Cochrane 7 Powassan 4
Game 2: Cochrane 6 Powassan 2
Game 3: March 31 @ Powassan 7:30 p.m.
Game 4: April 1 @ Powassan 7:30 p.m.
Game 5*: April 3 @ Cochrane 7:30 p.m.
Game 6*: April 5 @ Powassan 7:30 p.m.
Game 7*: April 7 @ Cochrane 7:30 p.m.
*-if necessary

OJHL: Semifinal action in the OJHL has been hotly contested early on with both best-of-seven series tied at one game apiece.

The defending OJHL Buckland Cup and Dudley-Hewitt Cup champion Toronto Patriots are knotted with the rival Toronto Junior Canadiens in their South-West Conference final.

The Patriots won the opener 5-3 before the Jr. Canadiens came back to level the proceedings at 1-1 Sunday evening skating to a 3-2 win.

Game 3 of the series goes Tuesday at Buckingham Arena in Toronto at 7:45 p.m.

Action in the OJHL North-East final has been equally as tight with the Trenton Gold Hawks and Kingston Voyageurs all even at one win apiece.

Trenton took the opener with a narrow 1-0 victory at home before Kingston rebounded on home ice Sunday with a hard-fought 5-4 decision in overtime.

That series also resumes Tuesday with Game 3 going in Trenton at 7:30 p.m.

The Voyageurs duo of Alex Tonge and Adam Brady are first and second respectively in OJHL playoff scoring.

Tonge has 23 points to his credit while Brady has 21 with both players having seen action in 13 games each.

Mathew Robson of the Patriots has been the top netminder in that league’s postseason so far having gone 9-2 with a stingy 1.53 goals-against average.

He is also tops in save percentage at .943.

The two surviving sides will then square off for the Buckland Cup OJHL championship.

Toronto Patriots vs. Toronto Jr. Canadiens
Best-of-seven series tied 1-1
Game 1: Patriots 5 Jr. Canadiens 3
Game 2: Jr. Canadiens 3 Patriots 2
Game 3: March 31 @ Jr. Canadiens 7:45 p.m.
Game 4: April 1 @ Patriots 7:30 p.m.
Game 5*: April 4 @ Patriots 7:30 p.m.
Game 6*: April 5 @ Jr. Canadiens 7:30 p.m.
Game 7*: April 6 @ Patriots 7:30 p.m.
*-if necessary

Trenton Golden Hawks vs. Kingston Voyageurs
Best-of-seven series tied 1-1
Game 1: Trenton 1 Kingston 0
Game 2: Kingston 5 Trenton 4 (OT)
Game 3: March 31 @ Trenton 7:30 p.m.
Game 4: April 1 @ Kingston 7:30 p.m.
Game 5*: April 4 @ Trenton 7:30 p.m.
Game 6*: April 5 @ Kingston 7 p.m.
Game 7*: April 7 @ Trenton 7:30 p.m.
*-if necessary

FASTHOCKEY: Each league playoff game as well as the Dudley-Hewitt Cup are available online via pay-per-view at fasthockey.com.

DHC WINNERS: Of the three competing leagues in the Dudley-Hewitt Cup, each have captured the event title once in the past three years.

It was the OJHL’s Patriots who won it all last season in Wellington, Ont., while the Minnesota Wilderness of the SIJHL claimed the crowned in North Bay back in 2013 and the Thunderbirds took the title in Thunder Bay in 2012.

DUDLEY-HEWITT CUP WEBSITE: More information on the 2015 Dudley-Hewitt Cup, including ticket packages, can be found on the official event website at www.centralcanadianchampionship.com.

Additional news, statistics, schedules and other relevant material will be posted on the website in the coming days leading up to the event.

Other news and notes on the competing leagues can be found on their respective websites:

SIJHL: www.sijhlhockey.com

NOJHL: www.nojhl.com

OJHL: www.ojhl.ca

RBC CUP: The Dudley-Hewitt Cup winner will advance to represent the central region at the 2015 RBC Cup Canadian Jr. A Championship, May 9-17, in Portage la Prairie, Man.

Serving as host will be the Portage Terriers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.

Joining the Terriers and Dudley-Hewitt title holders will be the champion and finalist of Crescent Energy Western Canadian Championship as well as the winner of the Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian Championship.

More information on the RBC Cup can be found at www.hockeycanada.ca/rbccup.

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