After jumping out to a 2-0 lead in tonight's tie-breaker elimination game, the Kootenay Ice scored six consecutive goals to end a record-breaking season for Owen Sound. The Attack - playing without two of its best players - didn't roll over and die, but didn't have a comeback left in them. When it was all said and done, Kootenay had won 7-3 and will live to see tomorrow.
Cody Eakin had two goals and an assist tonight to help his Kootenay Ice land a berth in the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup semi-final Friday night. (Josh Howald photo)
The Ice will now face the host Mississauga St. Michael's Majors at 7 p.m. Friday night in a semi-final contest. The team to win that game will advance to Sunday night's Memorial Cup championship game agasint the Saint John Sea Dogs.
Already without captain Garrett Wilson and sniper Joey Hishon, OHL Coach of the Year Mark Reeds opted to start veteran Scott Stajcer tonight in place of Jordan Binnington. Binnington had shut out Kootenay 5-0 earlier in the tournament, but the Attack had dropped two straight tournament games to Mississauga and Saint John. Stajcer allowed six goals on 31 shots, and was replaced by Binnington in the third period.
Things looked good in the first. Cameron Brace opened the scoring from Mike Halmo and Andrew Shaw midway through the first, and Jarrod Maidens made it 2-0 late in the frame, knocking home a rebound after a Jesse Blacker point shot. Andrew Fritsch also had an assists.
But Erik Benoit made it 2-1 at 7:48 of the second, and just 13 seconds later Joe Antilla buried a shorthanded wrister to tie the game and take the wind out of Owen Sound's sails. Matt Fraser made it 3-2, before the second period ended, and the Ice showed some killer instinct in the third. Fraser finished with two goals and an assist, as did Cody Eakin. Max Reinhart and, Antilla each had a goal and an assist.
Kootenay lost it's first two tournament games, but rebounded with an overtime win over Saint John, who had already clinched a berth in the finals. The Majors, Attack and Ice all finished the round robin at 1-2, causing need for tonight's tie-breaker game. The Sea Dogs were 2-1 and have been idle since Wednesday.
Watch this site tomorrow for a full recap of Owen Sound's OHL Championship victory and run at the Memorial Cup. The Independent won't be at tomorrow night's semi-final contest, but we will have updates online and be reporting live from Sunday night's Memorial Cup championship contest.