SHAWINIGAN (CP)- Jonathan Huberdeau had two goals and an assist in the first period and the defending champion Saint John Sea Dogs defeated the host Shawinigan Cataractes 4-1 before a full house of 4,687 at the MasterCard Memorial Cup on Wednesday night.
Huberdeau set up a goal from Stanislav Galiev and added an empty net score with 1:32 left to play. Ryan Tesink also scored for Saint John (2-1), which earned a spot in the tournament semifinal on Friday.
Anton Zlobin scored for Shawinigan (1-2), which will face the Western Hockey League champion Edmonton Oil Kings (1-2) in a tiebreaker game on Thursday night. Edmonton beat Shawinigan 4-3 in the tournament's opening game.
The result gave the Ontario Hockey League champion London Knights (2-1) first place in the four-team event and a bye to the final on Sunday night. The Knights got top spot because they beat Saint john in their head-to-head matchup.
The Bionest Centre crowd was buzzing as the Cataractes went into the game with a chance to finish first because they beat London this week.
But the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Sea Dogs came out hitting and grabbed the lead as Charlie Coyle made a heads-up play to pick off a pass and feed Huberdeau in front to put a sweet deke on goaltender Gabriel Girard at 4:19.
Saint John was on a two-man advantage when Huberdeau fed Galiev in the slot to make it 2-0 at 19:29.
Tesink was at the net to score 16:05 into the second after Girard mishandled Nathan Beaulieu's point shot, but the crowd erupted when Zlobin jammed the puck in from the side of the net on a power play with 1:05 left in the period.
Huberdeau has four goals and Tesink three in three games.
An incident late in the first period saw Shawinigan's tough forward Vincent Arceneau blast a slapshot straight at Saint John centre Stephen MacAuley, which brought a hit from Maxime Villemaire and a retaliatory hit from the Cataractes' Morgan Ellis. At the end, Arceneau, who had been hit in a foot earlier, limped off and needed help to get to the dressing room. He returned in the second period.
Notes: The Sea Dogs took Devon Oliver-Dares and Oliver Cooper out of the lineup and put in Jason Cameron and Grant West. . . The Cataractes and Sea Dogs split their QMJHL season series 2-2, each winning once away. . . Shawinigan's favourite son, former Prime Minister Jean Chretien, got a big hand when introduced in pre-game ceremonies, but an even bigger cheer went up for former Cataracte and current Paralympic athlete Dean Bergeron.
Post-game: Morgan Ellis | Michael Bournival | Nathan Beaulieu
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