(Photo: Brian Watts/OHL Images)
The York Simcoe Express played a textbook road game on Friday at the Scotiabank Pond, responding to an early Don Mills Flyers goal with four unanswered to advance to their first OHL Cup Final since 2004.
The Express were backed by an outstanding performance from goaltender Andrei Berezinskiy who provided several of the highight reel saves he’s become known for throughout the showcase.
York Simcoe played an effective game in all three zones, shutting down the Flyers as they made a third period push with great defensive zone coverage and a relentless backcheck.
“We wanted this one badly,” said feisty forward Ian Vucko who had a pair of assists in the victory. “I think we played our game tonight, came with speed and challenged them right from the drop of the puck. We knew the guys on their blueline like to pinch in and get involved so we had to be aware of that throughout the game.”
Jayden Vaughan scored his fourth of the showcase 3:15 into the first period before the Express responded by going 4-for-6 on the powerplay with goals from Ian MacLean, Matthew McKim, Carter Robertson and Matthew MacDougall. Both Vucko and captain Cameron Hillis had two assists on the night.
For the Wild Card entry Don Mills Flyers, a trip to the OHL Cup Semi-Finals was quite an accomplishment.
“We aren’t content to settle for this, but I’m proud of the way we’ve played this week,” said Don Mills captain Jack McBain. “We lost to a good hockey team tonight that took advantage of the opportunities we gave them. We all expected to be here and we did it the hard way, but it was an exciting ride and I know we all became better players through it.”
The Flyers wrap up their 2016 OHL Cup with a record of 4-2-0, winning a pair of double overtime decisions along the way when their Tuesday night Wild Card Play-In victory is included. McBain’s eight assists led Don Mills in scoring while Wyllum Deveaux and Tyler Weiss trailed close behind with three goals, four assists and seven points each.
The York Simcoe Express are going for the triple crown on the season, looking to follow up a Silver Stick title and an OMHA Championship by claiming OHL Cup supremacy on Monday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto.
“It’s what we’ve played for all season,” Vucko added. “We’ve been through so much so far, but the work isn’t done.”
Catch the OHL Cup Championship game live across the province on Sportsnet Ontario on Monday night when the puck drops at 7:00pm.
PLAYER OF THE GAME:
York Simcoe – Andrei Berezinskiy (G)
Don Mills – Tyler Weiss