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Sea Dogs deny Majors in bid for Memorial Cup title

by Staff Writer / Ottawa Senators
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — DeSimon Després, Zack Phillips and Jonathan Huberdeau all scored, and goalie Jacob DeSerres made 34 saves as the Saint John Sea Dogs beat the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors 3-1 on Sunday night in the MasterCard Memorial Cup final.


The title is the first in the Sea Dogs' six-year history and the first for a team from the Maritimes.

Després, a Pittsburgh Penguins prospect, and Phillips, NHL Central Scouting's No. 15 prospect in the final ranking of North American skaters for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, helped the Sea Dogs open up a 2-0 lead just 13:17 into the game in front of a full house of 5,429 at the Hershey Centre.

Meanwhile, DeSerres, who allowed every goal in the Brandon Wheat Kings' 9-1 loss to the Windsor Spitfires in last year's Memorial Cup final, redeemed himself. The 21-year-old outdueled Majors goalie J.P. Anderson, who stopped 22 shots.

With the Sea Dogs up 1-0 almost five minutes into the game, DeSerres stoned left wing Chris DeSousa flat on his stomach with his right pad. As the Sea Dogs clung to a 2-1 lead with about five minutes left in the third period, DeSerres stymied DeSousa point-blank again.

Then, with 3:43 left, Huberdeau, Central Scouting's No. 3 prospect and the MVP of the tournament, cemented the game. The left wing took Phillips' pass inside the left circle, zoomed in and undressed Anderson with a nifty backhander. Left wing Riley Brace scored the host Majors, who last won a Memorial Cup in 1961.

Much of the talk prior to the game centred on the Sea Dogs' long layoff. They clinched a final berth Monday in just their second game, a 3-2 overtime win against Owen Sound, and then rested several regulars Wednesday in a meaningless 5-4 overtime loss to Kootenay.

The Majors, meanwhile, won their last three games, including a 3-1 triumph Friday over Kootenay that secured their final appearance. But the Sea Dogs quickly dispelled any thought fours day off could derail their momentum.

Després, the 30th overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft, tallied shorthanded just 2:24 into the game, beating Anderson from the left circle. Seconds earlier, Majors defenseman Marc Cantin couldn't keep the puck in the Sea Dogs' zone.

Phillips, a slick playmaking center, finally scored later, getting a shot between Anderson's pads at the bottom of the left circle after Huberdeau fed him from down low. Phillips had been limited to just three assists in the series.

Coming up short in both the OHL and Memorial Cup finals tarnished what was a stellar season for the Majors. They led the OHL with 53 wins in 68 regular-season games, scoring the most goals (287) and allowing the fewest (170). Their 53-13-2 record put them in third place in the CHL rankings behind Saint John and the Western Hockey League's Saskatoon Blades.

The Memorial Cup itself was a resounding success for Senators owner Eugene Melnyk and his Majors, with sellout crowds filling the Hershey Centre for eight of nine games in the tournament.

— With files from Canadian Press

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