SHAWINIGAN – No one said winning the Memorial Cup would be easy.
The Cataractes will have to take the long way to the Memorial Cup. If they want to cap the season as CHL champs, Shawinigan will have to win back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday night to earn a shot at taking down London in the finals on Sunday.
One day after losing to the Sea Dogs, Cataractes captain Michael Bournival was already itching to get back on the ice. He and his teammates will face the Edmonton Oil Kings on Thursday to try and clinch a spot in the semifinals.
“We’ve worked hard the last couple of months. It’s draining mentally and physically. But we’re ready for what we’re up against tonight. There’s no room for error,” stressed Bournival, who could be taking part in his last game in a Cataractes jersey if his team loses to the Oil Kings. “We all know winning the Memorial Cup isn’t easy. You can’t look that far ahead; the only thing we’re focusing on is tonight’s game.”
As they have throughout the tournament, the host Cataractes will be counting on using the energy of the pro-Shawinigan crowd to their advantage.
“We have great fans. They’re passionate and they want us to win. They’ve waited a long time for something like this to happen. Now that we have the opportunity, we need to make sure we take advantage of it,” explained fellow Habs prospect Morgan Ellis, who joined the Cats midway through the season. “They’re behind us. When we get off the bus, there are people there supporting and cheering for us. We have to make sure we’re playing our best tonight.”
Having already suffered a 4-3 loss to the Oil Kings to open the tournament, the Cataractes know what they’re in for on Thursday – and they aren’t expecting a similar result this time around.
“We’ve already played Edmonton and it wasn’t our best game but we know what to expect now,” added Ellis. “They’re going to be good tonight; we have to be better.”
Still a few big steps away from winning the Cup, if Bournival, Ellis and Co. do manage to bring a championship to Shawinigan, they’ll also be making CHL history in the process.
Only once since the Memorial Cup tournament first started including four teams – in 1983 – has a team that has won the tie-breaker and the semifinal game managed to win it all. The Windsor Spitfires did so in 2008-09, knocking off Rimouski, Drummondville and Kelowna to capture the title.
Shawinigan will start the battle to become the second team on that exclusive list starting at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday night.
Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Shauna Denis.
Comments: Morgan Ellis | Michael Bournival | Jarred Tinordi
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