The Whitby Warriors proved every inch the formidable eastern champions everyone expected, at least for the first two periods anyway. The Ontario league champion scored six times in the opening period and tallied five unanswered goals in the second period before going on to beat the New Westminster Salmonbellies 11-5 in first of two games to kickoff the 2013 Minto Cup junior A championships at Queen's Park Arena on Saturday.
Whitby game MVP Dan Lintner scored three of his game-high five goals in the opening 20 minutes of play, including the first of two of the Warriors three shorthanded goals of the game. Lintner's second power-play goal of the game, coming at the seven-minute mark of the middle frame resulted in New Westminster starter Frank Scigliano giving way to backup Ross Bowman.
Bowman stopped the first 13 shots fired his way, before Whitby found a seam and scored three times, within a one-minute span to end the period. One of the prettiest goals was a long, floor-length bullet pass from Warrior goalie Alexis Bugue to transition runner Chad Tutton, who got the ball in and out of his stick in a hurry before running through the crease.
New Westminster came out much better in the final period, outshooting the Warriors 24-11, while outscoring the visitors 3-0 on the scoresheet. Luke Gillespie's unassisted goal gave the Queen's Park faithful something to cheer about after he stripped the Whitby captain Curtis Knight of the ball at midfloor and went in to score his first of the Minto on a break.
"We just got a pretty good yelling at," said Lintner after the game. "We played a pretty good 40 minutes, but we need a full 60. We were lucky our goalie (Alexis Bugue) stood on his head for us. It's unacceptable in anyone's books, especially ours." New West MVP Anthony Malcom led the Salmonbellies with a goal and two assists.
Bugue made 45 stops for Whitby, while Bowman had 25 saves on 28 shots. In the late game, B.C. champion Coquitlam Adanacs led 7-3 after two periods and went on to win 9-5 at Queen's Park Arena. Vinny Ricci led the A's with a hat trick in a four-point outing, while Reid Reinholdt also garnered four points for the winners, including a pair of goals. Adanacs MVP Matt Delmonico also had a pair of counters.
Okotoks goalie Michael DeGirolamo earned his team's MVP nod, stopping 39 shots in the Alberta cage. On Sunday, Whitby takes on Okotoks in the 5 p.m. game, while New West renews it rivalry B.C. championship rivalry with the Coquitlam Adanacs in the late game. Faceoff is at 8 p.m. at Queen's Park.
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