CORNWALL, Ont. - The Camrose Kodiaks may have been the stingiest team at the RBC Cup, but Taylor Nelson and the Humboldt Broncos one-upped them when it counted most.
Nelson stopped 31 shots and made Edward Gale's first-period goal stand up in Humboldt's 1-0 win Sunday over Camrose at the national junior A hockey championship final.
"I'm just basking in the moment while I can," said Nelson. "This team is like a big family, everyone has been great. I don't think I can find the words to describe how it feels right now.
"I just want to enjoy this while I can."
Gale's power-play goal at 16:39 of the first period was all the Saskatchewan team would need. He walked out of the right corner and tucked the puck behind Camrose goaltender Allen York.
The Alberta club had allowed just four goals while amassing a record of 5-0-0 prior to the final. Humboldt, meanwhile, led the five-team tournament with 24 goals coming in.
Both teams turned up the intensity in the third period and Mike Connolly had Camrose's best scoring chance when he ended up with the puck alone in the slot, but was stopped by Nelson.
Not even a late power play, coming with 59 seconds left after Jordan Shindel hooked Camrose star Joe Colbourne, helped them put a puck past Nelson.
The Kodiaks pulled York for an extra attacker, but despite steady pressure, ended up frustrated when Nelson made a game-saving stop with one second remaining.
"He is phenomenal," said Humbolt captain Russ Neilsen. "That save at the end, I don't think anyone in the rink will ever forget that one."
Humboldt missed a glorious opportunity to pick up some insurance in the second period when forward Laurent Benjamin was awarded a penalty shot.
He stole the puck inside the Camrose blue-line and was pulled down by Jesse Todd, but fired wide on the penalty shot.
Camrose head coach Boris Rybalka was left to lament his team's own missed chances.
"In a one-game shot, you get hot goaltending, you don't capitalize," said Rybalka. "If you don't capitalize, there's the difference in a one-goal game."