VERNON, B.C. – Vinny Post’s goal with 4:28 left was the game-winner, helping the Carleton Place Canadians to a 3-2 win over the host Vernon Vipers in the opening day finale Saturday at the 2014 RBC Cup.
The win came in the Canadians’ debut at Canada’s National Junior A Championship; they’ve played 50 fewer RBC Cup games than Vernon, which fell to 35-16 all-time in its 10th appearance.
Post took a gorgeous cross-ice feed from Owen Stewart and outwaited Austin Smith, dancing around the sprawling Vernon goaltender before depositing the puck into a wide-open net, capping a back-and-forth third period.
Dylan Gareau and Adam Lloyd had the other goals for Carleton Place (1-0), which scored all three of its goals in the final 20 minutes, erasing a 1-0 deficit after two periods.
Colton Sparrow and Demico Hannoun both scored shorthanded goals for Vernon (0-1), which lost its tournament opener for the sixth time in its 10 appearances.
But history is on the Vipers’ side; in the five previous tournaments they’ve started with a loss, they won the national championship at four of them (1991, 1996, 1999, 2010).
After a scoreless first period it was Vernon that found the scoreboard first, seven minutes into the middle frame; just 12 seconds into a Dexter Dancs minor for high-sticking, Sparrow burst down the left wing before beating Carleton Place netminder Guillaume Therien to the far side.
That would be it for scoring in the first 40 minutes, with Carleton Place holding a slight 16-15 edge in shots on goal through two periods.
The Canadians struck quickly in the third period, tying the game just 47 seconds in. Brett D’Andrea worked the puck to the slot and onto the stick of Gareau, who spun and beat Smith along the ice to make it 1-1.
Lloyd gave Carleton Place its first lead on the power play at 5:57, poking in a loose puck at the side of the net, but Hannoun pulled the Vipers even on the same man advantage at 8:11, finishing off a shorthanded two-on-one with T.J. Dumonceaux by rifling a wrist shot past a stretching Therien.
Post’s winner made the Canadians the first team to beat the RBC Cup hosts in their opener since 2011, when the Vipers beat the Camrose Kodiaks.
Carleton Place is back in action Sunday, taking on the Dauphin Kings in a battle of Day 1 winners (7 p.m. PT), while the Vipers see the ice at Kal Tire Place next on Monday, facing the Yorkton Terriers in the day’s lone game (7 p.m. PT).