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Memorial Cup in-game blog

by Mike G. Morreale
Third Period

The Majors pulled their goalie but Saint John's defense held fort in recording a 3-1 victory to capture its first Memorial Cup championship. As a member of the Brandon Wheat Kings a year ago, the Windsor Spitfires scorched Jacod DeSerres, the 21-year-old goalie, in a 9-1 thumping in the Memorial Cup final. When the Wheat Kings went with younger netminders this season, DeSerres cleared WHL waivers, leaving him free to sign with the Sea Dogs. Deserres stopped 34 pucks en route to the biggest win of his career.

The Sea Dogs’ roster has six players born in New Brunswick, three in Nova Scotia and one in Prince Edward Island. With the triumph, Saint John becomes the first team from the QMJHL to win a Memorial Cup not hosted by one of the league's teams since 1996 -- when the Granby Predateurs scored a 4-0 victory over the OHL's Peterborough Petes. If that weren't enough, Saint John also happened to be the youngest team in this year's Memorial Cup tournament.

3:43: There it is. The QMJHL MVP Jonathan Huberdeau with a great move off an even better feed from linemate Zack Phillips to give the Sea Dogs a 3-1 advantage. It is Huberdeau's third goal of the Memorial Cup tournament in 4 games. Phillips made the play happen when he skated hard down right wing before threading a pass to Huberdeau storming down the slot. Phillips' pass just went underneath a diving Mississauga defenseman Michael D'Orazio before hitting Huberdeau's tape. The No. 3-rated North American prospect then finished it off with a nifty deke in front of J.P. Anderson that sent the goalie on his chest and out of position. Phillips is rated No. 15 on NHL Central Scouting's list of North American skaters.

4:51: Sea Dogs goalie Jacob DeSerres appears so poised out there. Mississauga creating plenty of opportunities around his crease, but DeSerres refuses to budge.

8:29: So Mississauga is now 0-for-5 on the power-play while Saint John remains clinging to a 2-1 lead here in the Memorial Cup final. The Sea Dogs hold a 4-3 edge in shots in the third and the Majors hold a 27-21 lead for the game. Neal Diamond's 'Sweet Caroline' playing in the backround.

Both teams are currently waiting to cash in on a mistake - is it a matter of time? Tomas "the magician" Jurco just had a splendid opportunity off a wrist shot from between the circles that Mississauga goalie J.P. Anderson scooped up to force a defensive-zone draw. The Sea Dogs have opened up the third period in relatively strong fashion, outshooting the Majors, 3-0.

Second Period

:01: In a period dominated by Mississauga, the home team outshot Saint John, 15-6, and now holds a 24-17 edge for the game. Majors captain Casey Cizikas almost pulled his team even with one tick on the clock when he collected a feed from the left-wing corner and tried a stuffer at the left post on goalie Jacob DeSerres. DeSerres, who has played extremely well throughout, has turned back 23 shots for the game. The power-play for both teams has struggled. Each team is 0-for-4 with the man advantage.

5:19: Mississauga has cut into the Saint John lead off a splendid 3-on-2 rush. New York Islanders prospect Casey Cizikas (92nd overall in 2009) began the play by skating up the middle of the ice before feeding Justin Shugg in the right circle. Shugg placed a perfectly timed lead-pass to Riley Brace low in the left circle. Brace, who missed on an opportunity very late in the first period, then ripped a shot past Jacob DeSerres, who had no chance on the play. 

8:46: Mississauga was just presented its second power-play opportunity of the period when Michael Kirkpatrick was sent to the box for slashing. Saint John successful denies the Majors to maintain a two-goal lead.

17:00: The host team was given an early power-play to open the second after Saint John's Kevin Gagne was whistled for tripping just 55 seconds into the frame. While Mississauga did have some decent looks, Sea Dogs goalie Jacob DeSerres was up to the challenge each time. Mississauga has outshot Saint John, 4-1, in the second and DeSerres has been equal to the task. The Saint John defense, led by standout draft eligible Nathan Beaulieu, has also played well in front of their keeper.

First Period

15.6: Mississauga's Riley Brace thought he had poked one underneath the pads of Saint John goalie Jacob DeSerres, but the referee whistled the play dead before the puck apparently crossed the line. Brace raised his arms in celebration but there was a whistle just prior to the disk squeaking through the pads. The first period ends with Saint John holding a precarious 2-0 lead while outshooting Mississauga, 11-9.

6:43: Zack Phillips, the third of four possible first-round selections playing for Saint John this season, struck for his 10th goal of the playoffs just as a roughing penalty to Mississauga's Joe Cramarossa expired. Phillips was aided by the quick passing of top draft-eligible Sea Dog Jonathan Huberdeau and Michael Kirkpatrick. The Sea Dogs took advantage of a turnover in the Mississauga end by forward Chris DeSousa. Mississauga has already been called for three minor penalties in the opening period -- wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall listening to St. Michael's coach Dave Cameron between periods in the locker room?

17:36: It didn't matter that Sea Dogs forward Ryan Tesink was whistled for roughing in the opening five minutes of the game. Simon Despres, a draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins (30th overall) in 2009, ripped a shot from the left circle that beat St. Michael's goalie J.P. Anderson over his blocker to the long side. On Despres' short-handed goal, the 2011 World Junior Championship silver medalist used Mississauga defender Stuart Percy as a screen.

20:00: Prior to the game, a tremendous salute to many service men and women here at the Hershey Centre. Additionally, a fantastic video tribute to the late EJ McGuire, who died of cancer on April 7. McGuire, the longtime executive director of NHL Central Scouting, will certainly be missed this week with the NHL Scouting Combine being held in Toronto. McGuire's wife, Terry, and his two daughters, Erin and Jacqueline, were given a very nice applause as they made their way to center ice on the red carper during pre-game festivities.

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