DAUPHIN, MAN. – It’s the undefeated hosts against the defending champs. The Dauphin Kings punched their ticket to the gold-medal game of the Royal Bank Cup Championships by icing the La Ronge Ice Wolves 6-2 in a Saturday night semifinal at Credit Union Place.
Dauphin, reaching the final in their first-ever appearance at an RBC, will look to dethrone the Vipers, who boast a record five national junior A hockey titles. The championship game goes Sunday (noon PT) and will be aired on TSN2, and again at 7 p.m. PT.
The Kings looked assured of a finals berth as goals by Bryce Lamb, Angus Klassen and Steven Shamanski pegged Dauphin to a 3-0 lead midway through the second period. But the Ice Wolves wouldn’t go away. Aaron Enns answered for La Ronge at 15:16 of the second period, followed by Ben Findlay’s marker in the final minute.
Playing before their fifth straight packed house (2,247 fans), the Kings found another gear in the third period, with speedy Zeanan Ziemer collecting his second goal of the tourney at 6:35. Goals by feisty Mitch Czibere and Shamanski, a defenceman turned forward, put the game away.
Kings’ netminder Joe Caligiuri recorded 33 stops for the win. Joel Danyluk, battling through injury, had a solid 34-save performance for the Wolves.
It is the sixth straight time Dauphin has grounded La Ronge, going back to the ANAVET Cup regional series (the Kings won the best-of-seven 4-1).