SHAWINIGAN, Que. -- Austin Watson had a goal and two assists as the hard-working London Knights upset the defending champion John Sea Dogs 5-3 at the MasterCard Memorial Cup on Saturday night.
Watson's goal at 10:49 of the third period turned out to be the game-winner as the Knights held off the Sea Dogs' vaunted attack despite some late pressure, until Saint John hurt their own cause by going two men down during the final 2:04. Coach Gerard Gallant got a bench minor for arguing a penalty call.
Vladislav Namestnikov, with two, Max Domi and Seth Griffith also scored for London in its opening game of the four-team tournament.
Charles-Olivier Roussel, Jonathan Huberdeau and Ryan Tesink scored for the No. 1 ranked Sea Dogs (0-1), who did not lose a game while taking their first Memorial Cup last year in Mississauga, Ont.
London is in action again Sunday night against the host Shawinigan Cataractes (0-1), while the Sea Dogs play their second game on Monday against the Edmonton Oil Kings (1-0).
The Knights outworked the Sea Dogs, winning most of the puck battles and creating the best chances, but Saint John stayed in the game thanks to a pair of shorthanded goals.
Huberdeau was sent off for a nasty hit from behind on Matt Rupert only 16 seconds into the game, but a puck came around the boards and Roussel was there to blast in from the point past Michael Houser's glove at the 1:37 mark.
Domi, son of former NHL tough guy Tie Domi, showed some grit as he went to the net and flipped the puck over Mathieu Corbeil while falling to the ice at 14:11.
Only 1:20 later, strong forechecking saw Tyler Ferry feed Namestnikov in the slot as the Knights took the lead.
The Sea Dogs were in trouble when they were outhustled again and Griffith made it 3-1 at 12:41 of the second frame.
But while shorthanded, the Sea Dogs got a strange one as Huberdeau's long shot went off Namestnikov and bounced to the net and right between Houser's pads with 2:03 left in the period.
Ryan Rupert stole a puck from Pierre Durepos behind the Saint John net and fed Watson in front 10:49 into the third, but Saint john struck back at 12:01 when Tysink was parked in front to deflect in a Nathan Beaulieu point shot on a power play.
On a two-man advantage, Namestnikov got his second with 49 seconds to play.
Notes: The tournament hockey operations committee announced that officials should not have reviewed a Shawinigan goal in Friday's 4-3 win by Edmonton. Goals scored after a whistle are not reviewable. The goal by Anton Zobin at 6:37 of the third period cut Edmonton's lead to 3-2. Had Shawinigan won, then there would be controversy.
2012 Memorial Cup page
Knights upset defending champion Sea Dogs
Oil Kings wins Memorial Cup opener
The Memorial Cup gets rolling