Tuesday, May 03, 2011


Notes From Camrose-Royal Bank Cup 2011

The Wellington Dukes’ second game at the Royal Bank Cup in Camrose, Alberta, was dubbed “The Battle of Ontario”. The Dukes faced the Pembroke Lumber Kings, representing the eastern regions of Canada.
Both teams entered the game on a losing note, having lost their first game of the Round-Robin part of the tournament. With one team being cast aside after preliminary round play, the game with Pembroke appeared critical. The winner would leave the game with a one and one record, the loser winless in two games.
The Dukes had been upset in their first game against the host team, the Camrose Kodiacs. Always a critical factor in any short series, the Kodiacs’ goaltender stood on his head in the first period, allowing the Dukes but one goal on 18 shots. Joe Zarbo smacked a perfect pass from Sean Rudy and Steve Evans on a Dukes’ power play to put the Dukes on the scoresheet.
Camrose countered with a goal early in the second period, bringing the home crowd to life. The Dukes responded a couple of minutes later on a goal by Evans from Rudy and Bunnett. The Kodiaks notched a couple of goals before the end of the second period, and that was “all she wrote.”
Wellington fired everything but the kitchen sink at Flette in the Camrose goal, but could not beat him. Flette was selected as player of the game for the Kodiacs. Rudy won the award for the Dukes.
In the second game, the Lumber Kings opened the scoring on a goal by Gallant on a soft pass from Matthew Zay. It was the only goal in the period, leaving the Dukes to consider minor adjustments in the second period; however, at that point things took a nasty turn. The Lumber Kings refused to follow the script designed by the Dukes’ coaching staff.

They banged home two goals to take a 3-0 lead with less than six minutes gone in the period. Cam Yuill responded with his first goal prior to the half way point in the period. Yuill had picked up the puck as he trailed the play, and snapped the puck by Dupuis. The Lumber Kings replied less than a minute later when Matthew Peca beat Rylett, who had replaced Jordan Ruby in the Dukes’ net. Yuill notched his second goal at 17:08 of the second period, leaving the Dukes trailing 4-2.
While playing short-handed in the dying seconds of the period, Simon Bessette grabbed up a loose puck and raced in alone on Dupuis in the Kings’ goal. His shot grazed the post. From that point on, it appeared that the Dukes had little left in their tanks.

The Dukes had been saddled with eight minor penalties in the first two periods, forcing Coach Abrams to make adjustments to his lines. They played tentatively in the latter stages of the game. They took ill-advised shots, and passed up good shooting chances.
After the game, Coach Sheldon Keefe praised the efforts of Peca and Jonathan Milley. “Those guys led the way, We lean heavily on them, and they responded. Our goaltender played much better tonight. We challenged him after the first game. I also liked the play of our depth guys. Tonight’s game was a good step in the right direction.”
Dukes’ assistant coach Todd Reid felt that the Dukes lacked focus in the game. “We got away from our game plan. We will regroup and we will be ready to play on Wednesday.”

Hanging over their heads all this time was Don Cherry’s prediction on the Coaches’ Corner that the Dukes would win the Cup. The fat lady has not begun to sing, but at this point, it does not bode well for the Dukes.

Post script: The photograph at the top of the article is a picture of a large board listing all of the teams eligible to play for the Cup. All things considered, it is a great accomplishment to get this far.

James Hurst
May 2, 2011

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