CAMROSE, Alta. – Brandon Gagne tipped in a Stefan Salituro shot with 5:47 to go, helping the Pembroke Lumber Kings a 4-2 semifinal victory over the Camrose Kodiaks on Saturday night, sending the Lumber Kings to Sunday’s national championship game against the two-time defending champions from Vernon.
Pembroke is into the final for the first time in four appearances during the tournament-style format. The Lumber Kings played for the national title in 1973 and 1977, during the days of the East vs. West best-of-seven final, but lost in the semifinals in 1987, 1988 and 2007.
Matthew Peca, Maurice Alvarez and Mitchell Gallant – into an empty net – also scored for Pembroke, which avenged a 2-1 preliminary round loss to the Kodiaks. Salituro finished with three assists, while Francis Dupuis made 25 saves, including a number of stops on two late Camrose power plays.
Rylan Wiest scored both goals for Camrose, which erased a 2-0 deficit and tied the game on Wiest’s second goal with 9:57 remaining, only to come up short in front of a standing-room only pro-Kodiaks crowd at the Edgeworth Centre. Tournament MVP and Top Goaltender Dalyn Flette had another strong game between the pipes for Camrose, making 30 saves. Camrose missed out on the final for just the second time in six appearances at the national championship.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)