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The Champs are Defending: Dundas wins Allan Cup opener

by Dan Carle

Dundas, Ontario – Four weeks later, the quest to repeat successfully began.

Following a month – to the day – break and with a full roster for the first time all season, the host Dundas Real McCoys earned a tournament-opening victory Saturday night at the 2024 Allan Cup thanks to forward Phil Brewer’s breakaway in the third.

“It just happened to land perfectly in front of me,” said Brewer of linemate Brad Bonello’s pass on the tape that produced the game-winner with just over six minutes left.

“I saw the five-hole last-minute and just kind of powered it through.”

The champs are now officially defending.

“It’s definitely a big one, for sure,” said Brewer, a winger and father of two young children (3, 1) transitioning to a leadership role at a family-run auto parts wholesaler, who is otherwise willingly wedging in three tournament games over five days leading to Saturday’s final. In the Allan Cup Hockey League, the Real McCoys typically play once a week.

Brewer has his eye on the prize – literally.

“It’s a great feeling to look up into the stands and see one of your kids,” Brewer said. “It will be nice to save a couple goals for later on in the tournament.”

The 3-2 final over the South Shore Breakers of Saint John’s, Newfoundland – who themselves played for the first time in several weeks – was a successful opening game in the four-team round-robin which Dundas both hosted and won last year.

Ryan Demelo stopped 36 shots for Dundas after replacing stalwart starter Mike Mole, who suffered a knee injury and is out for this tournament. Demelo was in the net after watching from the bench last season as Mole earned his second career Allan Cup MVP.

“He was kind of next in line,” said Brewer. “He played great.”

Demelo went 8-1 in the 2018-19 Allan Cup playoffs with a 1.88 GAA to help the Stoney Creek Generals to the franchise’s first and only Senior men’s national title.

Brewer stayed sharp during the Real McCoys break by working out in his garage after 9 at night, once the kids were asleep.

On Saturday, the Real McCoys stuck around in the home dressing room at JL Grightmire Arena after the win, less to celebrate than take in the third period of the NHL Maple Leafs playoff-opening loss (5-1) in Boston. In suburban Hamilton, it was a muted celebration.

Outside of Mole, the Real McCoys roster is largely the same as last season’s champion, which was the second national title in the deep AAA senior hockey history of Dundas and area.

The plan is to make it a second straight and third title overall.     

Dundas plays Monday night [Alberta (Innisfail Eagles) – 7:30 p.m.] and Wednesday (Robertson Cup champion Stoney Creek, 7:30 p.m.).

The semi-final is Friday night (7:30 p.m.) and the 2024 Allan Cup – with a history dating back to 1909 after Montagu Allan’s donated trophy – will be awarded following the 3 p.m. final on Saturday, April 27.

Brewer hopes he and the band of senior men’s champions – including a new 33-year-old goaltender – have at least another week in them.

“Everybody’s goal is to make it to the final and hoist the Allan Cup,” said Brewer. “We just have to take it one game at a time.”

About Allan Cup Hockey (ACH) and the Allan Cup

Allan Cup Hockey (ACH), formerly Major League Hockey until 2011, is the top tier Canadian senior ice hockey league in the province of Ontario. Founded in 1990, as the Southwestern Senior “A” Hockey League, the ACH is a member of the Ontario Hockey Association and Hockey Canada. The ACH’s champion contends for the Allan Cup each year.

The Allan Cup is the trophy awarded annually to the senior ice hockey champions of Canada. It was donated by Sir Montagu Allan of Ravenscrag, Montreal, and has been competed for since 1909. The current champions are the Dundas Real McCoys, who captured the 2023 Allan Cup in Dundas, Ontario.

More about the Allan Cup Challenge

The 2024 Allan Cup Challenge goes from April 20-27 at the J.L. Grightmire Market Street Arena in Dundas, ON. For more information and to purchase tickets click here

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