By Jason LaRose, Hockey Canada
CHILLIWACK, B.C. – Matt Dorsey got the winner in Round 5 of the shootout to give the Wenatchee Wild (BCHL) a 3-2 extra-time victory over the Ottawa Jr. Senators (CCHL) on Tuesday afternoon at the 2018 RBC Cup, helping the Pacific Region champions stay unbeaten and earn a spot in the semifinals.
It was just the second shootout in the history of Canada’s National Junior A Championship – the West Kelowna Warriors edged the Trenton Golden Hawks 4-3 at the 2016 tournament in Lloydminster, Alta.
After the first six shooters came up empty, Cooper Zech converted the fourth attempt for the Wild before Gabriel Morin answered right back for the Jr. Senators with the game on the line.
Dorsey was next for Wenatchee, and he beat Ottawa goaltender Connor Hicks through the five-hole to restore the advantage. Finn Evans was stopped by Wild netminder Austin Park on the last chance for the East Region titlists, giving Wenatchee the win.
The Jr. Senators opened the scoring on the power play midway through the first period when a shot from Michael Thomas hit a stick in front and eluded Park, but Dorsey parked himself on the door step and tucked the 1-1 goal past Hicks on a Wenatchee man advantage just five minutes later.
Jasper Weatherby put the Wild ahead in the final minute of the opening frame, whipping a feed from August Von Ungern past the glove of Hicks for a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.
Wenatchee held a 14-11 advantage in shots on goal in an offensively-charged second period, but the Jr. Senators scored the only goal. After a wild scramble in front of Park, the puck found its way to Ethan Manderville in the slot and he made it a 2-2 game.
Hicks kept it that way with the save of the tournament late in the stanza, reaching to his left to absolutely rob Wild captain A.J. Vanderbeck with a glove stop. He finished with 36 stops in all.
A scoreless third period and overtime – the record-setting fifth in six games – sent the game to the shootout.
Zech made a quick move to his right before going against the grain to beat Hicks for the first goal in Round 4, but Morin picked the top corner past the glove of Park to keep Ottawa alive for one more round.
The Jr. Senators will be on the ice for the lone game Wednesday, taking on the Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) in their preliminary-round finale (7 p.m. PT), while the Wild take on the Wellington Dukes (OJHL) to close out their prelim schedule Thursday (2 p.m. PT).
Photo credit: Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images