Kevin Shier tallied twice to help propel the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots (OJHL) to a 4-1 victory over the Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) Tuesday in the opening game of the 2014 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Jr. A championship at Essroc Arena in Wellington, Ont.
The best early chance came off the stick of the Lakers’ Ryan McQueen whose quick backhand was snared by Toronto starter Evan Buitenhuis.
Ontario Junior Hockey League playoff most valuable player Shier opened the scoring late in the session he batted a shot off the glass out of the air from the side of the crease past Jordan Cartney at 18:32
The second stanza saw Fort Frances squander a lengthy two-man advantage as they could not generate any quality shots on the Patriots’ net.
A lob on a breakout allowed the OJHL title holders to extend the cushion in the middle frame as Michael Prapavessis corralled a loose puck, skated in and outwaited a sprawling Cartney before lifting a shot into the open side.
Returning from an upper body injury in the first period, Brent Aiken got Fort Frances on the board at 18:03 of the middle stanza as he one-timed a Kevin Kurm feed from the slot through the legs of Buitenhuis, via the power play, to make it 2-1 through 40 minutes.
In the final frame Fort Frances carried the play and Aiken was sent in on a partial break with seven and a half minutes to go, but his snap shot was thwarted by the right pad of the Patriots’ stopper.
The SIJHL’s leading point producer in Lucas Debenedet was then put in alone moments later only to see Buitenhuis jam his pads together to keep the equalizer from getting by him.
Countering, Toronto Lakeshore added some insurance with 5:45 remaining as Shier wheeled his way into the Fort Frances zone and whipped one past Cartney.
They then concluded the scoring in the late going when Doug Bonar slammed one in from close range.
Finals shots on goal favoured the Patriots by a 39-28.
Player of the game laurels went to Cartney and Shier.
The Lakers return to game action Wednesday when they take on the host Wellington Dukes at 7:30 p.m. at Essroc Arena.
Wellington takes to the ice in their opening contest Tuesday evening as they take on the title holders of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners at 7:30 p.m.
You can follow the Dudley-Hewitt Cup online via FASTHockey.com on a pay-per-view basis or through the event website at www.dudleyhewittcup2014.com.