MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Matt Fraser and Cody Eakin both had two goals and an assist Thursday to rally the Kootenay ice past a short-handed Owen Sound Attack 7-3 in the tie-breaker game at the MasterCard Memorial Cup.
Kootenay fell behind 2-0 after the first period, then scored six straight en route to a semifinal showdown Friday against the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors. The winner faces off against the Saint John Sea Dogs in the Memorial Cup finale Sunday.
Joe Antilla and Max Reinhart each had a goal and an assist for Kootenay (2-2). Erik Benoit also scored.
Cameron Brace, Jarrod Maidens and Mike Halmo replied for Owen Sound (1-3), whose only win was a 5-0 decision over Kootenay in its tournament opener.
The Ice still face an uphill battle to win this event. Kootenay started the tournament 0-2 and only once has a club rallied from that deficit to win the tournament. The Windsor Spitfires captured that historic title just two years ago.
Owen Sound played minus captain Garrett Wilson and star forward Joey Hishon. Wilson missed the game with concussion-like symptoms suffered after being hit by Mississauga's Chris DeSousa in the Majors' 3-1 win Wednesday, while Hishon hasn't played since being elbowed in the head by Kootenay captain Brayden McNabb in the Attack's tournament opener.
McNabb received a one-game suspension for that hit. The Attack requested the hit on Wilson be reviewed for supplemental discipline but it was denied Thursday afternoon.
Attack head coach Mark Reeds rolled the dice in goal, surprisingly giving Scott Stajcer his first tournament action ahead of Jordan Binnington, who started the club's first three games. Then again, it was a calculated gamble as Owen Sound played three goalies — Michael Zador was the other — in the OHL final against St. Mike's and came in having lost straight.
But Stajcer was lifted for Binnington after Reinhart's short-handed goal put Kootenay ahead 6-2 at 4:59 of the third. He stopped 25 shots.
Brace wasted little time opening the scoring, beating Ice goalie Nathan Lieuwen at 7:12 of the first. After killing a two-man power play late in the period, the Attack went ahead 2-0 on Maidens' goal at 18:45.
Kootenay rallied in the second, pulling to within 2-1 on Benoit's goal at 7:48 after Owen Sound had two glorious scoring chances while shorthanded.
After drawing an assist on Benoit's goal, Antilla converted a 2-on-1 while shorthanded, beating Stajcer with a wrist shot to the top corner just 13 seconds later.
Fraser scored his third of the tournament on the power play, firing a high wrist shot to the top corner past Stajcer at 11:14.
Kootenay continued its offensive onslaught early in the third as goals by Fraser (power play), Eakin and Reinhart (shorthanded) boosted the Ice's lead to 6-2 by 4:59. Halmo's power-play goal at 5:37 pulled Owen Sound to within 6-3.
Eakin rounded out the scoring into an empty net at 17:28.