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Tigers move to 2 – 0 with second straight 2OT win

By Jake Courtepatte

Sixty minutes of hockey hasn't been enough for the Junior A Aurora Tigers and Kingston Voyageurs, who have put in more than three games worth of work over the two games of their OJHL playoff series.

Despite the close scores, the Tigers find themselves up two games to none in the conference semifinal best-of-seven.

Exactly one week to the day after closing out their first-round series with the Newmarket Hurricanes, the Tigers were at the Aurora Community Centre to host the Voyageurs, undefeated in the postseason after taking down the Stouffville Spirit in four games.

Kingston struck first after a poor giveaway in the Tigers' end, with two opposing players left in front of the Aurora net to open the scoring.

Regular season team-leading scorer Johnny Curran tied it up with under three minutes to go in regulation, sending it to overtime with a nice wrister from the top of the circle.

It was actually an anti-climactic finish that ended the game after almost ninety minutes, when Liam Neuman took advantage of a distracted Kingston goaltender, Matt Penta, who was suffering from an apparent leg cramp.

The Tigers' 59 shots on net may have been a contributing factor, and the Tigers took Game One with a 2-1 victory.

Aurora goalie Andy Munroe, meanwhile, remained one of the hottest netminders of the postseason stopping 51 shots in the winning effort.

With the series moving to Kingston on Sunday, the Tigers found themselves holding onto a 3 – 1 lead after two periods on goals from Kyle Locke, Nicholas Erb, and Cameron Morrison.

But Munroe was beaten twice in the final frame, the second coming with Nolan Dunn in the box with just five minutes left on the clock.

It wasn't until the dying seconds of the second overtime that Aurora captain Michael Laidley buried his second of the postseason, giving the Tigers a definitive two-game series lead, with the 4-2 double overtime win.

Deservedly, he's not counting the Voyageurs out of this series just yet.

“It's been a good series,” said Laidley. “Both games could have gone either way…we could just as easily be down two games to none.”

Laidley tipped in a shot from the point by Locke for the goal.

Having overcome the third period scare, the Tigers seemed to have overcome a case of taking their opponent a little too lightly, said Laidley.

“They know how to score goals, they're a good team. Every game should be close.”

The Voyageurs are hoping to not repeat history after being swept by the Tigers in the conference finals in the 2013-14 season.

Kingston finished fourth overall in the North-East conference this year, well back of the league-leading Tigers and their 91-point record.

In other postseason news, the Trenton Golden Hawks remain the team to beat in this year's postseason. After dominating the Wellington Dukes in four games in the opening round, the Hawks have taken a two-game series lead over the Cobourg Cougars by scores of 5 – 2 and 7 – 2.

As for the Tigers, Game 4 goes Thursday night in Kingston, following a post-press time Game 3 Tuesday night at the ACC.

If needed, the series returns to Aurora Saturday with a puck drop of 7.30 p.m.

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