BERNARD SCORES WINNER LATE, KINGS GET FIRST RBC CUP WIN
JASON LA ROSE
VERNON, B.C. – Jesse Bernard broke a 1-1 tie with just 1:37 to go, leading the Dauphin Kings to a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots in the tournament opener Saturday afternoon at the 2014 RBC Cup.
The win keeps Dauphin undefeated in preliminary round games at Canada’s National Junior A Championship; the Kings went a perfect 5-0 when they hosted the tournament in 2010 before losing to Vernon in the championship game.
Bernard took a pass from behind the net from Tanner Lomsnes and roofed a shot over the shoulder of Toronto Lakeshore goaltender Evan Buitenhuis to give the Kings the lead for the first time, and for good.
Tanner Butler had the other goal for Dauphin (1-0), which scored twice in the final 12 minutes to erase a one-goal deficit after two periods and score the victory.
Michael Stiliadis earned the win in the Dauphin goal with a tremendous performance, making 41 saves.
Jacob Hayhurst scored the lone goal for Toronto Lakeshore (0-1), which lost for just the fifth time in 25 postseason games.
The Patriots carried the play in the early minutes of the first period, holding a 12-3 advantage in shots on goal at one point, but Stiliadis was there time and time again to keep the game scoreless through 20 minutes.
It took just 2:57 of the second period for Toronto Lakeshore to get on the board; after a scramble in front of Stiliadis the puck fell to Hayhurst, who beat the sprawling Dauphin goaltender for a 1-0 lead.
The Patriots pushed for more before the end of the middle frame, but were stymied by Stiliadis, who is playing for his third team this season – he started with the OJHL’s Georgetown Raiders and spent a month in Vernon with the RBC Cup host Vipers before landing in Dauphin.
The Kings finally pulled even with 12:04 left in the third period; Butler’s original shot was kicked out by the right pad of Buitenhuis, but he gathered up his own rebound and beat that same right pad to tie the game.
Bernard’s winner came just seconds after another sustained push from Toronto Lakeshore, which held a 42-29 advantage in shots on goal.
Both teams are back in action Sunday; the Kings try for a 2-0 start when they take on the Carleton Place Canadians in the late game (7 p.m. PT), while the Patriots face the Yorkton Terriers in the matinee (2 p.m. PT).