ESTEVAN, Sask. – The Dauphin Kings picked up a hat trick from Brayden Dube to help pace them past the Soo Thunderbirds 6-1 Wednesday in Centennial Cup preliminary round play at Affinity Place in Estevan.
Striking first, Dauphin got on the board before the match-up was five minutes in, as Dube corralled a loose puck behind the net and moved out where he stuffed it in on Thunderbirds’ starter Noah Zeppa, who was twisted around, and could get keep it out.
It was more from Dube midway through the first as he got around a Sault Ste. Marie defender and cruised in along the right wing and snapped a shot through Zeppa’s legs to give the Manitoba Junior Hockey League champions an early two-tally edge.
Out-racing a pair of Soo skaters to the puck, early in the second stanza, eventually saw the Kings’ Nick Braun get set-up alone in front where he lifted an attempt over Zeppa’s pad to make it 3-0.
After successfully handling being down two skaters, Dauphin tacked on a fourth when defenceman Klim Georgiev spun free at the blueline and moved into the high slot where he wired one into the right corner.
They then took a 5-0 lead to the intermission, thanks to a power play marker from inside the blueline by Colby Jaquet that eluded a screened goalkeeper.
Entering the contest leading all goaltenders in the Centennial Cup in both goals-against average and save percentage at 0.97 and .972 respectively, Dauphin netminder Careson Cherepak gave up a rare goal to begin the final frame as Kelsey Ouellet finished off a rebound with help from linemates Michael Chaffay and Cooper Foster.
Capping off his three-goal game later in the third, Dube came in on a two-on-one where he calmly outwaited a sliding Soo blueliner to go by before ripping one in, glove side, to conclude the scoring.
Named the Soo’s player of the game recipient was Ouellet while Dube picked up the accolades for his side.
In defeat, the Thunderbirds (0-4-0) concluded their season while the victory gave the Kings (3-0-1) top spot in their division, which earned them an automatic semifinal berth Saturday night.
Photo credit: Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images