Cool, composed club could capture Cup

ERIC BENDER, Free Press Sports Reporter

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

CHATHAM -- There's one more nothing game to play before the serious stuff starts. The Thorold Blackhawks, who beat Chatham 4-2 in Sutherland Cup round-robin play on Tuesday night, will face the Listowel Cyclones tonight at home in a meaningless tilt before beginning the junior B Sutherland Cup final with the Maroons this weekend.

The Cyclones, who won the Midwestern Junior B Hockey League championship for the first time in the franchise's 25-year history, have already been relegated to the sidelines in the three-team tango for the provincial title.

The Sutherland Cup best-of-seven final will start Saturday or Sunday in Thorold.

The Thorold-Chatham elimination series finale on Tuesday served notice it will be full body armour when the final begins.

It was a game that established personal grudges and an intensity that should carry over into the series. Thorold has home-ice advantage and dates are yet to be set.

It was a rugged game with three fights and several brawl-like confrontations.

On the hockey side, it meant the teams will have to employ discipline in the tough going. Every goal in the two games Chatham and Thorold played against each other was a power-play effort so special teams will be crucial.

In the first game in Thorold, the Blackhawks scored three with the man advantage to win 3-0.

Thorold opened last night's game with a 2-0 lead on two power-play goals and added two more later.

"Five-on-five we outplayed them," Chatham head coach Lee Giffin said. "Discipline is everything."

Thorold coach Dan Timmins said the power play and penalty kill were key to winning during the round-robin.

"We're trying to be disciplined out there and turn our backs on stuff and hopefully have our power play score.

"It's going to be a physical series. But we proved all year we can play any style.

"We knew they would come out hard in their own rink to avenge the loss last Thursday. I thought we answered the bell."

Thorold started the game in rock 'em, sock 'em style and Chatham retaliated. Two power-play goals by Chris Risi and Steve Zmudczynski put the Blackhawks up 2-0 by the seven minute mark.

But the Maroons notched a power-play goal of their own to make a 2-1 game going into the second period. John Aitken popped a short rebound in at 16:49.

Mike Hedden scored to make it 3-1 late in the second period on Thorold's only power play.

On Chatham's fourth man advantage, which carried over into the third period, Justin Renner scored 24 seconds in to make it 3-2.

Blake Bishop iced the game for the Blackhawks at 17:14 of the third with the man advantage.


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