DAUPHIN, Man. – Overtime continues to be the friend of the La Ronge Ice Wolves.
Dan Conacher scored 2:07 into the extra period as the Ice Wolves continued their unlikely postseason run with a 3-2 win over the Oakville Blades in the opening game of the 2010 RBC Cup on Saturday afternoon.
La Ronge played overtime in 11 of its 26 games en route to the RBC Cup, winning six.
Conacher dug the puck out of a scramble and shovelled the puck past Oakville goaltender Daniel Savelli to give La Ronge the victory in its debut at the National Junior A Championship, making a winner out of Joel Danyluk, who made 43 saves to keep the West Region representatives in the game.
Oakville outshot the Ice Wolves 14-9 in the first period, including 10-1 in the opening eight minutes, but the teams went to the dressing room tied 1-1 on goals from Kyle Blaney for the Blades and Ben Findlay for the Ice Wolves.
The Blades restored their one-goal lead less than four minutes into the second period, as Ryan Murphy spun in the slot and snapped a shot through Danyluk, but Dayton Fossum replied for La Ronge in the dying minutes of the period, sneaking behind the Oakville defence and batting a puck past Savelli.
Danyluk was at his best in the third period, turning aside all 17 shots he faced as the Blades swarmed the La Ronge goal, but could not find the game-winner, setting up Conacher’s overtime heroics.
Both teams get right back to action on Sunday – Oakville faces Brockville in the afternoon contest (2 p.m. CT), while the Ice Wolves face the defending national champions from Vernon at 7 p.m. CT.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)