KINGS BEAT VIPERS, CLINCH FIRST PLACE IN RBC CUP PRELIMS
JASON LA ROSE
VERNON, B.C. – Five different players scored goals and 10 had at least one point, helping the Dauphin Kings wrap up first place in the preliminary round at the 2014 RBC Cup with a 5-2 win over the Vernon Vipers on Tuesday night.
It was the first meeting between the teams since Vernon routed the Kings 8-1 in the 2010 national final in Dauphin.
Brayden Cuthbert, Jared Morris, Brett Hope, Tyler Garrioch and Brent Wold had the goals for Dauphin (3-0), which still has yet to lose a preliminary round game at the RBC Cup; it went 4-0 in 2010.
Colton Sparrow and Ryan Renz, the two players who were with the Vipers when they made their last appearance at the national championship in 2011, replied for Vernon (1-2).
Michael Stiliadis was spectacular again in the Dauphin goal, finishing with 29 saves. Stiliadis spent a month as a Viper earlier this season before being traded to the Kings in early November.
He had arguably his best period of the tournament in the opening 20 minutes Tuesday, making multiple point-blank saves to keep the game scoreless early.
Cuthbert got the scoring started at 15:13 of the first, beating Vipers goaltender Austin Smith less than 30 seconds after the Kings had killed off a long Vernon five-on-three power play.
Morris made it 2-0 just 47 seconds later, taking advantage of a stumble by a Vipers defenceman at the blue-line and snapping a shot past Smith from the left face-off circle.
Smith allowed two goals on five shots and was replaced by Danny Todosychuk to start the second period.
The Kings gave Todosychuk a rude welcome; Hope’s shot banked off the end boards, off the goaltender’s pad and in just 1:50 into the middle frame for a 3-0 Dauphin lead.
Vernon could get nothing going offensively in the second, managing just three shots on goal, and fell behind 4-0 late in the period when Hudson Morrison went straight ahead on a face-off and fed Garrioch for an easy tap-in.
Sparrow finally got the Vernon offence started early in the third period, scoring his fifth goal in three games with the Vipers enjoying a two-man advantage, and Renz roofed a shot over the shoulder of Stiliadis midway through the frame to make it a two-goal game, but that would be as close as the hosts would get.
Wold capped the scoring less than a minute after Renz’s goal, redirecting a feed from Justin Valentino.
Both teams will finish the preliminary round on Thursday; Dauphin tries to complete a perfect preliminary round against the Yorkton Terriers in a rematch of the Western Canada Cup final (2 p.m. PT), followed by the Vipers taking on the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots (7 p.m. PT).