SAINT JOHN, NB – The Saint John Sea Dogs are Memorial Cup champions again.
The host Sea Dogs, considered a contender at the start of the Canadian Hockey League championship due to a first-round loss in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs, defeated the Hamilton Bulldogs 6-3 in Wednesday’s championship game.
Saint John scored twice in the opening six minutes of both the first and second periods and drove the emotion of a hugely enthusiastic sold-out crowd to win the championship for the second time in its 17-year history.
William Dufour, captain Vincent Sevigny, Cam MacDonald, Josh Lawrence, Peter Reynolds and Riley Bezeau scored for the Sea Dogs.
Mason McTavish, who scored two, and Jan Mysak answered for the Bulldogs, who advanced to the final in Monday’s semi-final with a 4-3 win over Shawinigan.
Saint John goalkeeper Nikolas Hurtubise, bought by the Sea Dogs on the QMJHL trade deadline, recorded his third win of the tournament with 25 saves. Hamilton’s Marco Costantini stopped 21 of 26 shots in the loss.
The Sea Dogs also won the Memorial Cup in 2011, and their win on Wednesday marks the sixth time a QMJHL team has won the Memorial Cup in the last 10 tournaments.
The 2020 and 2021 Memorial Cup events have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hamilton made his second Memorial Cup appearance after advancing to the 2018 semifinals where they fell to the Regina Pats.
The Sea Dogs defeated the Bulldogs 5-3 in the opening game of the tournament and used the same script on Wednesday by scoring early.
Sevigny accepted a feed from Toronto Maple Leafs prospect William Villeneuve, and his blast hit the stick of Hamilton’s Arber Xhekaj, firing past Costantini 2:35 into play.
Just over three minutes later, Villeneuve made another slick move on the right sideboards and hit MacDonald in the groove. He made no mistake as he made a quick shot to beat Costantini at 5:47.
McTavish took his fifth of the tournament when he sent a shot from Nathan Staios past Hurtubise at 7:45 am to calm the crowd and give Hamilton a much-needed shot of attack.
Bezeau – a Rothesay, NB striker who started attending Sea Dogs games as a five-year-old – patiently held the puck on the right side before making a 4:41 wrist shot in the second.
Dufour, who led the tournament with seven goals, tore a feed from Ryan Francis 5:15 in the period to give the Sea Dogs a 4-1 lead.
Hamilton allowed several other golden opportunities but scored two goals when Mysak, the overtime hero in Monday’s semi-final, won over Shawinigan, got a shot from Gavin White off him and passed Hurtubise with nine seconds to go in. the period.
Lawrence put the Sea Dogs on the brink of the title with a sharp shot into the top corner on a feed from Dufour on a power play of 6:32 in the third.
McTavish added his second of the night with 4:57 remaining on the game clock.
Reynolds fired a puck into a blank to seal the win at 6:43 PM.
The Sea Dogs were defeated in the opening round of the QMJHL playoffs and their four Memorial Cup games are the only games they have played since May 12.
It was another national title for Gardiner MacDougall, a seven-time University Cup champion with the University of New Brunswick, who replaced Gordie Dwyer as head coach on May 22, and was credited with renewed enthusiasm within the team that went 47-17-1. . 3 in the regular season.
The Bulldogs finished 16-3 in the Ontario Hockey League playoffs to advance to the Memorial Cup, but dropped their first two games of the preliminary round to finish a series of do-or-die games starting with a 4-2 win against the Edmonton Oil Kings.
In a thrilling semi-final on Monday, Mysak scored 10:08 in overtime to lift Hamilton past the Shawinigan Cataracts 4-3.
However, the grueling run that began has taken its toll on the Bulldogs as captain Colton Kammerer has not played since the second game of the OHL final against Windsor. Many other Hamilton players, including CHL defender of the year Staois, played with injuries.