DAUPHIN, Man. – It may have been a little closer than they wanted, but the Dauphin Kings will enter the semifinals of the 2010 RBC Cup as the only undefeated team.
Ryan Dreger notched the game-winner with 10 minutes to go, snapping a perfect shot over the glove of Daniel Savelli and under the crossbar, to lead the Kings to a 5-4 victory over the Oakville Blades on Wednesday night in the round robin finale for both.
The win makes Dauphin (4-0) the first host team to run the table in the round robin at the National Junior A Championship since Halifax in 2002, while the Blades (0-4) are the first team to fail to win a game at the tournament since Selkirk in 2007.
The game looked like it was going to be an easy win for the Kings when Dreger and Steven Shamanski set up Shane Luke for his fifth goal in three games, Bryce Lamb put a shot under the crossbar and Luke tapped in a backhand to make it 3-0 Dauphin very late in the first period, but Ryan Murphy gave the Blades some life with less than a second remaining, sending Oakville to the dressing room down 3-1.
Lamb added his second shorthanded at the 7:27 mark of the second period to restore the three-goal lead, but Kyle Badham and Kyle Blaney beat Dauphin netminder Brett Willows before the horn sounded to end the second period, leaving the Kings up only a goal at 4-3 after 40 minutes.
The offensive onslaught continued for the Blades early in the third, and they were rewarded with the tying goal when Michael Ingoldsby fired a low shot from the point that beat a screened Willows at 4:07.
Despite Oakville controlling much of the play in the third period, outshooting the Kings 16-8, Dreger made sure the 2,112 at the Parkland Recreation Complex went home happy when he put the capper on his four-point night at 10:37.
The Kings will await the loser of Thursday night’s round-robin finale between Brockville and La Ronge (7 p.m. CT) before finding out who they will face in Saturday’s late semifinal (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)