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Rocks take opener in first Sleemans Cup final

FERGUS – The Elora Rocks rallied with four consecutive goals in the third period to open the very first Sleemans Cup Western Ontario Super Hockey League championship series with a 7-5 victory over the Tillsonburg Thunder Friday night at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex.

Tillsonburg scored the lone goal of the first period and added to its lead in the opening minute of the second before the explosive Rock tallied three times in two minutes and 32 seconds to shoot ahead 3-2.

Elora Rocks 7 Tillsonburg 5

However, the visitors scored twice later in the middle frame to carry a 4-3 lead into the third. Elora shot ahead for good with its third-period spree although the Thunder cut the gap to the final two-goal margin with just under six minutes to play.

Steven Dol had a pair of goals for the Rocks while single goals were added by Alex Utley, Jacob Black, Phil Teri, Shaun Pickering and Zack Cameron. Chad Herron assisted on three of the goals while Charlie Stephens and Yianni Skropolis each had two assists and Pickering, Cameron, Utley, Teri and Tye Campbell had one apiece.

Tillsonburg received goals from Mitch Green, Brendan Barletta, Cam Sault, Michael Rebry and Mitchell Fitzmorris. Rebry and Matthew Weston each had three assists while Andrew Burns, Sault, Christo Kurtis and Andrew Tapsell had one apiece.

The Thunder outshot the Rocks 33-31 and had the game’s lone power-play goal.

Colin Dunne had 28 saves for Elora while Jesse Raymond had 24 for Tillsonburg.

The Rocks had finished atop the five-team league at the completion of the regular season with a 17-3-0-0 record while Tillsonburg was third at 10-10-0-0.

Elora and the Thunder met five times during the regular season with Elora winning three of the games.

Tillsonburg’s wins bookended the season series as the Thunder prevailed 4-1 at Tillsonburg Feb. 19 and 7-5 at Elora Oct. 22, that setback being Elora’s lone home loss of the season.

The wins by the Rocks were 5-3 at home Dec. 10, 8-5 at Tillsonburg Nov. 20 and 7-0 at Elora Nov. 12.

In the semifinals, the Rocks swept the fourth-place Stratford Fighting Irish (8-10-1-1) in four games while Tillsonburg won four close games to eliminate the second-place Strathroy Jets (13-5-0-2). Elora outscored Stratford 27-8 in their series while the Thunder outscored the Jats 16-11 in the other semifinal.

Second game of the best-of-seven final is set for Saturday at Tillsonburg.


  • Guelph Sports Journal