Thistles to face Thunder in playoff
The Kenora Thistles will try to avoid being Thunder-struck tonight to keep their Allan Cup hopes alive.
The Thistles, featuring four players with Fort Frances ties on its roster, will take on the South East Prairie Thunder from Manitoba tonight at 6:30 p.m. CT in one of two first-round playoff games at the 2014 Allan Cup national senior men’s hockey championship in Dundas.
After a 5-4 loss to the Brantford Blast in their opener on Monday, the Thistles dropped a 5-2 decision to the Clarenville (NL) Caribous (2-0) on Tuesday.
A quiet first two periods saw the Caribous lead Kenora 1-0 after 40 minutes, with Ryan Desrosiers beating former Borderland Thunder goalie Tyler Gordon at 18:49 of the first.
But the third period saw the teams combine for six goals, with the Thistles drawing even twice before Clarenville scored three unanswered goals to pull away.
Fort native Dan MacIntyre teamed up with Sean McAslan to set up Ryan Pearson at 4:13 to make it 1-1.
After Rodi Short gave Clarenville the lead back at 6:57, TJ Sakaluk netted another equalizer for Kenora at 8:58 to tie the affair 2-2.
But the Caribous’ Cam Fergus scored 43 seconds later to provide what turned out to be the game-winner.
Martain Lapointe made it 4-2 at 12:41 and Luke Gallant added an empty netter with 24 seconds left to cap the scoring.
Fergus, Gallant and Peter Campbell each had two points apiece for Clarenville, which received a 25-save effort from Jason Churchill in goal, with help from AJ Whiffen, who stopped both shots he faced in a brief relief stint.
Gordon turned aside 19 pucks in his debut appearance in this year’s tourney after Ryan Person started against the Blast.
Forward Tyler Miller, a Fort Frances product, and goalie Cody Wood from Atikokan, a former Muskie who has not seen action at the tourney yet, are the other local connections to the Thistles.
The Caribous clinched first in Division One yesterday with a 6-2 defeat of Brantford (1-1) yesterday.
The Blast take on the host Dundas Real McCoys (2-0), who finished first in Division Two, in today’s other first-round game.
The semifinals take place tomorrow, with the final set for Saturday.