It was a battle of the sixth and seventh-placed seeds after the round-robin. It was also a rematch of the beginning rounds as Team North and Team Ontario met on the ice again in the qualifying round with a chance at the quarter-finals on the line.
It was Team North who managed to hold in the first matchup downing Ontario 4-3. It was another close game on Thursday at the Canada Games Centre but with a different outcome as Ontario skated to a 5-2 win.
Ontario coach, Chandon Hill, said his team’s confidence was high going into the game despite the loss.
“Our team is a pretty confident bunch of players and they know what they have to do to win,” said Hill. “In that last game we lost 4-3, we made it 4-3 in the third so they had some confidence going in.”
In the first game, both teams found themselves in the penalty box a lot. It was much the same in the rematch. Hill said that his team likes to play on the edge but needs to continue to be disciplined moving forward.
“They’re an aggressive bunch of players, they like laying the body checks and the rough stuff,” said Hill. “It’s good to hit sometimes but not too aggressive. You’ve got to remain disciplined, keep the emotions in check.
“Throughout the tournament, we’ve been getting more disciplined less penalties. Its been helping the team score 5-on-5 and not just kill penalties 5-on-4 all game.”
In the third period, Ontario only took one penalty after taking seven in the first two frames. Team North took nine penalties in the game, including four in the third period.
The first period was a really even contest. Both sides were playing well defensively. Team North was applying good offensive zone pressure in the beginning moments of the game but it was Ontario that struck first.
Pineshish Whiteduck found himself alone behind the Team North defence with nothing but the goalie, Liam Tereposky, in his way.
As he broke in alone he went forehand to backhand getting Tereposky out of position with an open net waiting for him to slide the puck into. Ethan Carlson-Jourdain and Brody Belanger picked up the assists on the play.
Team North answered two minutes later on the power play. On a scramble in front, Ryan Eegeesiak-McIntosh knocked in a rebound before Ontario goalie, Aidan Tom, could cover the puck. Brett Walchuk and Ian-Burton Attungala got the helpers.
Just over halfway through the first Ontario retook the lead. Tereposky made the initial save but could not control the rebound and Breck Rainey knocked in the rebound.
Team North once again had the answer. On a power play, Walchuk skated in and sent a cross-ice feed to Attungala who redirected the puck into the twine.
Ontario took the lead for good in the second on a bad Team North line change. Carlson-Jourdain broke in alone and fired a shot past Terposky’s glove to restore the advantage.
Team North pressed for the equalizer but could not solve Tom.
On a power play in the third Tanner Flood gave Ontario a two-goal cushion and David Chisholm sealed it scoring into the empty net.
Team North will now play New Brunswick today in the relegation round. Ontario will play Manitoba.