JASON LA ROSE
LLOYDMINSTER, Alta./Sask. – Mitch Emerson had two goals and an assist in a four-goal first period, and the Trenton Golden Hawks locked up first place in the preliminary round at the 2016 RBC Cup with a 4-1 win over the Lloydminster Bobcats on Thursday night.
The result means the same two teams will meet Saturday in the first semifinal game at 2:30 PM. The Brooks Bandits and West Kelowna Warriors will face off in the other final-four showdown.
Mac Lewis and Danny Hanlon joined Emerson as goal-scorers for the Golden Hawks, who were the only team to earn points in all four of their round-robin games (three wins and a shootout loss).
Morgan Messenger had the lone goal for the Bobcats, who had locked up a semifinal spot before they stepped on the ice thanks to Brooks’ 5-4 win over Carleton Place in the day’s early game.
Trenton got to Lloydminster goaltender Pierce Diamond early and often, scoring three times before the seven-minute mark of the opening period.
Mac Lewis struck first at 1:33, poking a rebound past Diamond, who was making his first start since Feb. 12.
Emerson made it 2-0 at 3:17, taking advantage of a fortuitous bounce off the corner-boards, and added a second just over three minutes after that, cruising through the slot to redirect in an Adam Clements shot on a Trenton power play.
That would be all for Diamond, who allowed three goals on five shots before giving way to Alex Leclerc.
Hanlon added the Golden Hawks’ fourth goal on another man advantage at 12:53, sending the Central Region champions to the dressing room up 4-0 despite being outshot 11-9.
Lloydminster continued to rack up the shots, adding 16 to its total in the second period, and was finally rewarded when Messenger beat Trenton netminder Daniel Urbani just one second after a power play ended.
But a combination of posts, missed empty nets and strong goaltending from Urbani kept the Bobcats off the scoreboard the rest of the way, even though they finished with a 35-28 advanatage in shots on goal.
History will not be on the side of Lloydminster on Saturday – since 1990, the No. 4 seed is 8-18 against the No. 1 seed in the semifinals.