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RBC finalists shaping up
Either the Dauphin Kings of Manitoba or the Yorkton Terriers of Saskatchewan will be booking flights today for the Royal Bank Cup in Vernon.
The host Kings stopped the B.C. Hockey League champion Coquitlam Express 5-3 Thursday night to advance to the Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup championship final Saturday night at Credit Union Place.
The winner moves to the RBC, while the loser faces the winner of Saturday’s 3 vs 4 game between the Express and Alberta champion Spruce Grove Saints today for the second RBC berth.
Former Viper Mitch Van Teeling supplied an empty-net goal for the Kings, who got two snipes from Brett Hope. The Express got goals from Mark Whiteley, Zach Hodder and Jace Hennig.
The Kings outshot Coquitlam 36-34 with Jordan Piccolino taking the win and Gordie Defiel the loss. Player of the game awards were handed out to Hope and Coquitlam’s Bo Pieper. Express captain and leading scorer Ryan Rosenthal returned to the lineup after missing one game with a knee injury.
Former BCHL net detective Michael Stiliadis, who filled in for injured Viper goalie Austin Smith earlier this season, went 21-5 (.907 save percentage) in regular season for the Kings.
Earlier in the day, the Saints continued their strong bounce back after losing the first two games of the round robin by knocking out the Manitoba champion Winnipeg Blues 5-3. Former Viper d-man Geoff Crisfield plays for Spruce Grove.
In the Eastern Fred Page Cup, the Kent Cup champions Truro Bearcats of the Maritime Hockey League took on the host St-Jerome Panthers in the semis Saturday night. The winner will take on Bogart Cup champ Carleton Place Canadians of the Central Canada Hockey League in the finals tonight.
The Central Dudley Hewitt Cup wrapped up Saturday night. The host Wellington Dukes took on the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots. Both teams came out of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. The Pats won their way to the Dudley Hewitt by winning the Frank L. Buckland Trophy.
The Wellington Dukes have won the Dudley Hewitt Cup twice: 2003 and 2011.
The victors of the Eastern Fred Page Cup and the Dudley Hewitt Cup advance to the RBC Cup.
Meanwhile, the Vipers appear semi-healthy as they prepare for their national tournament opener Saturday night verus the Eastern reps at Kal Tire Place. It will be their first game in 23 days.
Forward Mason Blacklock, who was on pace to win the league scoring title until getting injured, used the two-week to heal.
“I worked out, been doing a lot of physio, trying to get healthy. I wouldn’t say that I’m 100 per cent. I am trying my best right with what I am working with. I’ll play in the RBC, no question. I’ll probably be around 75 per cent.”
Blacklock, 20, of White Rock, has a scholarship with the NCAA Michigan Tech Huskies for next season.
D-man Kenny Citron, who missed the final series against Coquitlam, is also on the mend.
“My foot is doing good. It is starting to get better. It was good to get some rest on it, but now I am starting to skate on it and it feels good. I’m feeling optimistic about the RBC Cup; obviously I want to play in it. I should be fine.”
Citron, 19, will play for the NCAA Colgate Raiders in his home state of New York next fall.
Forward Demico Hannoun, who helped the Surrey Eagles reach the RBC final (lost to the Brooks Bandits) last year, is also ready.
“I rested over the break. My body feels good now, I feel refreshed. I am 100 per cent. Body is a little tired after first practices, just got to get my stamina up again.”
Hannoun, 18, of North Delta, is also headed to Michigan Tech next season. He and Blacklock, along with Viper blueliner Dylan Chanter, are allrated by NHL Central Scouting for the June amateur lottery in Philadelphia.
SNAKE BITES: Former Patrick McGillis, Aaron Hadley, Cam Brodie, Adam Thompson and Brad Cook are confirmed Viper alumni taking in some of the games...Vernon’s opener is close to a sellout... Dauphin swept the OCN Blizzard and Virden Oil Capitals before losing the Mantioba final 4-1 to Winnipeg...The Vipers ambushed the Kings 8-1 in the 2010 RBC final in Dauphin...Kyle Turris and the Burnaby Express rolled over Yorkton 8-2 in the ‘06 final in Brampton, Ont... Powell River Kings’ forward Kurt Keats has committed to the University of Massachusetts Minutemen for the 2015/16 season.Keats, 18, just completed his first year in Powell River where he was second in team scoring, notching 65 points in 62 regular-season and playoff games. The Winnipeg product also captained Team Canada West at the 2013 World Junior A Challenge in Nova Scotia...SFU has signed 20-year old d-man Mathew Berry-Lamontagna, who split last season between Coquitlam and Cowichan Valley.