SHAWINIGAN, Que. (CP) — Anton Zlobin scored his second goal of the game 17:51 into overtime to lift the Shawinigan Cataractes to their first MasterCard Memorial Cup title with a 2-1 victory over the London Knights on Sunday night.
|Habs prospect Michaël Bournival hoisting the Memorial Cup. |
Zlobin took a pass from behind the net from captain Michael Bournival and drilled a quick shot that beat Knights goaltender Michael Houser and sent the sellout crowd into a frenzy. The Cataractes’ forward leapt into the air before he was mobbed by teammates on the ice.
Zlobin had tied the game in the second period after Ryan Rupert scored in the first for the Ontario Hockey League champion Knights.
It was the first overtime in nine tournament games and it came with Shawinigan playing a fourth game in five nights.
London was coming off a five-day break.
More than 5,000 fans were crammed into the 4,125-seat Bionest Centre, crowding into standing room and even sitting in the stairways, with air horns and Thunderstix adding to the din.
After the second period, the P.A. announcer reminded fans that air horns was ”restricted,” but the blaring went on just the same.
London had the better of the play for most of the game, keeping the Cataractes to the outside on defence and generating several chances at the other end, where Cataractes goaltender Gabriel Girard had a superb game.
Final shots were 36-35 for Shawinigan.
The Knights executed their trap and counterattack game to perfection, taking a 13-4 lead in shots in the opening period and scoring the first goal. Strong forechecking produced the chance, as Matt Rupert set up his twin brother Ryan from behind the net 5:42 into the game.
Shawinigan did not get a shot on goal in the opening 10 minutes.
The Cataractes picked up the tempo in the second period and tied the game when Kirill Kabanov’s shot went off Tommy Hughes’ stick to the crease for Zlobin to put in at 3:01.
There were glittering chances in a fast-paced third period, especially the Knights’ best unit of Austin Watson with the Rupert brothers, who failed to bury a handful of chances.
It was the first final to go to overtime since 2001, when Red Deer beat Val d’Or.
The Cararactes were among the founding members of the QMJHL in 1969 but never won the Memorial Cup. They reached the final in 1985, losing 6-1 to the Prince Albert Raiders. Shawinigan was the host team, but the final was moved to Drummondville because the old Jacques Plante Arena was considered inadequate for television.
Next year’s Memorial Cup will be in Saskatoon.
Notes: The co-presidents of honour of the tournament, Montreal Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur and president Geoff Molson, took part in pre-game ceremonies with ex-Canadiens Yvan Cournoyer… They got to see two teams with a Canadiens prospect as captain: Jarred Tinordi of the Knights and Bournival of the Cataractes.
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