SHAWINIGAN – It’s not every day that you get to add your name to the history books. The Cataractes made sure to make the most of their opportunity to do just that, Sunday night in Shawinigan.
Everyone expected a tightly contested battle between the Cataractes and the Knights but even a Hollywood scriptwriter would have had a tough time coming up the scenario that unfolded in the Memorial Cup’s championship game. After three periods of play and a combined total of 54 shots, each team had only managed to light the lamp a single time. It marked the eighth time in tournament history that overtime was needed to decide who would hoist the cup. After a hard-fought 17 minutes and 51 seconds of OT, the Bionest Centre finally exploded when Michael Bournival fed a perfect pass to Anton Zlobin who made no mistake sealing the deal for the Shawinigan squad.
“It’s incredible. This is one of the toughest cups to win, and we did it tonight, the feeling is just incredible,” shared the Cataractes’ captain, visibly elated to have won the tournament in his own hometown. “My family, my friends, everyone is here. This is an unbelievable experience.”
The other Habs’ prospect in the mix, Morgan Ellis, appeared to be in disbelief following his team’s victory and Zlobin’s dramatic overtime marker.
“I was sitting on the bench trying to catch my breath. All of a sudden, I turned my head and looked up and saw the goal go in,” explained Ellis. “I don’t think I’ve ever jumped over the boards so quickly.”
For Ellis, the moment was made all the more special by the fact that the Cataractes’ most recent campaign marked his first with the team. Ellis had played the past three seasons of his career as a member of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
“To have been able to arrive here around the holidays and had the chance to become a part of such a great group of guys was fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation,” expressed Ellis. “I feel extremely relieved. Winning the cup is really an indescribable sensation. I think people in Shawinigan are going to be celebrating this for the rest of the summer.”
The 2012 edition of the Memorial Cup certainly came packed with its share of memorable moments for the fans and every team involved. Several of those moments came courtesy of the host-team whose run to the cup included winning a clutch tie-breaker that sent them through to the semi-final round. The Cataractes’ victory marked the third time since the tournament took on a four-team format in 1983 that the team who won the opening-round tie breaker also went on to win their semi-final match.
Even more notably, it also marked only the second time that the team who won that tie-breaker closed out the tournament as victors, with the Windsor Spitfires being the last team to do it in 2009 when the Memorial Cup was held in Rimouski.
Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Justin Fragapane.
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