Prior to game seven, a sheet of glass along the boards was shattered during warmup.
Then the Dorchester Dolphins went out and shattered any hope of an Aylmer Spitfires’ upset, with a 5-0 shutout to win the Provincial Junior Hockey League Yeck Division final in front of a standing room only crowd of 1,488 at the FlightExec Centre, on Sunday, March 19.
It was the Dolphins’ third shutout of the final and second in three nights, sandwiching a game six loss at Aylmer just 24 hours earlier. Dorchester outscored Aylmer 15-2, when combining their four wins. Aylmer had a 14-10 goal advantage from their three victories.
Following a 39-0-1 regular season, the Dolphins were the favourites entering the final. But Aylmer looked to steal the spotlight, winning games one and three, before forcing a seventh game.
“We were just excited. We wanted to come out and have fun. These games are always fun. The game sevens,” Dolphins’ captain Tyler Blue said. “We were under some pressure to do well because we done so well during the season. But we knew that success in the season doesn’t mean anything in the playoffs. Anything can happen. We lost three games and we hadn’t lost to Aylmer all season.”
Goalie Riley Brown posted his sixth career playoff shutout for the Dolphins and second goose egg in a game seven.
His first game seven came in last year’s final, when Brown back-stopped the Dolphins to a 4-0 blanking of the Exeter Hawks, a day after losing game six.
“As the game went on, I thought about it more. I was trying not to at the same time though,” Brown said. “A little bit of déjà vu.”
Dorchester came out buzzing in the first period, outshooting Aylmer 20-5 and scoring three times, twice on the power play.
“We had guys like Tim (Pieper) and Robbo (Zach Robertson) and Doozer (Brett Van Dusen), who are always flying,” said Blue, who enjoys his third Yeck championship. “They made a real difference tonight and we need that from the whole team. It’s really important.”
Derek Todosichuk, with his team leading 13th playoff goal, Dylan Buckholz, his 11th of the post season and Braedon Dorion’s first of two goals, had the Dolphins leading 3-0 after one period.
Dorion and Van Dusen put the game out of reach, burying rubber in twine during the third period.
“The guys put in a good effort and we really played well. It shows when we bear down what this team can do,” Dolphins’ head coach Mark Van Vliet said. “Aylmer played a heck of a series. They played hard and fast and gave everything.”
Drawing on the game seven experience of a year ago aided the Dolphins.
“I find it did help,” Van Vliet said. “I just had some confidence going into tonight. We knew the guys would bounce back from (game six).”
Michael Blue had three assists and Lucas Wilson, two, while Jay Ritchie picked up his 19th helper this post season.
“This one feels really good. It was a grind to get it done in seven games, but I think that is what we needed to prepare us for the next round. It’ll up our intensity,” said Ritchie. “We knew we were a better team than how we played (game six). We wanted to come out and prove that today.”
There is no rest for the Dolphins, who began the PJHL Western Conference final against the Essex 73’s, Tuesday (March 21) in Essex.
“We’ll take this in for tonight and then turn it around tomorrow because we have to be ready to go,” said Van Vliet. “They’ve (Essex) had some time off. Maybe we’ll catch them sleeping.”
The 73’s, who placed second in the Stobbs division, are 12-1 in the playoffs, including sweeping the first place Lakeshore Canadians in their final.
After the Spitfires took a 2-1 series lead, the Dolphins tied the final with a 3-2 win at Aylmer on March 15.
Todosichuk had a goal and two assists. Dorion, with the game winner, and Ritchie also scored.
The Dolphins’ power play clicked four times, while Brown made 32 saves in a 7-0 shelling of the Spitfires in game five, March 17, thrilling 1,138 fans at the FlightExec Centre.
Todosichuk, with two goals, Michael Blue, Wilson, Jackson Seeley, Nick Griffin and Alex Weaver scored.
Aylmer sent the series to seven games, taking game six on their home ice, 5-4, on March 18. The Spits led 2-0 early, making Dolphins play catch-up all game.
Scoring for the ‘Phins were Wilson, Michael Blue and Ryan Root, with a short-handed goal.