Caribous win again, earn bye to Allan Cup semifinal

John Browne
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Clarenville beats Brantford, Ont. Blast 5-2

Clarenville coach Ivan Hapgood says the Brantford Blast were looking to intimidate the Newfoundland team early, but the strategy basically backfired and the Caribous went on to win 6-2 and earn a bye to the semifinals of the 2014 Allan Cup Canadian senior hockey championship in Dundas, Ont., Wednesday night.

2014 Allan Cup

The Atlantic representatives, who opened the tournament with a 5-2 win over Ontario's Kenora Thistles Tuesday, will play the semifinal against an opponent yet to be decided 5 p.m., Friday.

“They came out with a line that likes to run around a bit. They were obviously trying to set the pace early,” said Hapgood.

“I made a little change and put out the defence pair of David Victor with Doug O’Brien and that’s like running into two brick walls. They came at us but we responded real well,” he said, adding, “You’re not going to intimidate a Newfoundland team.”

The Caribous, who scored twice in each period, got two goals each from Andrew Sweetland and Chris Hulit.

Luke Gallant and Dustin Russell had one goal each for the winners.

Ryan Desrosiers, Peter Campbell and Cam Fergus set up three goals each.

Goalie Jason Churchill, who Hapgood said played really well, made 29 saves on 31 shots for the win. Clarenville fired 35 shots on Brantford  goalie Anthony Marshall.

Hapgood said, so far, the team’s strength is its balance.

“We’ve got a couple of good scoring lines and a couple of good defensive-type lines and our backline is strong even though we played Wednesday’s game with out Brandon Roach.”

Roach, the team’s player of the game Tuesday, didn’t skate Wednesday after a taking “a shot in the ribs,” in the tournament opener, according to Hapgood.

The Clarenville coach said he’s not sure if Roach will be ready for Friday’s game and listed him as “day-to-day” at this point.

In the meantime, Hapgood said it’s “huge” getting an extra day off before the semifinals.

Hapgood said he’s seen all of the opposition and while there are a couple of big, strong teams still in contention, he maintained “There’s nobody here we can’t beat,” before adding “and anybody here could beat us on any given day, to be fair.”

The Clarenville coach said the players remain focused on the goal at hand.

“We’ve got a good mix of players and we’re here for one purpose which is to win another Allan Cup for Newfoundland,” he said.

The Allan Cup final is set for 4:30 p.m. Saturday (NL time) and will be broadcast on TSN or TSN2.

Geographic location: Clarenville, Ontario, Newfoundland

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