The QMJHL and OHL Champions met for the first time in the Memorial Cup tournament Monday night. Saint John punched their ticket to the Memorial Cup Final with a dramatic 3-2 overtime win.
The Owen Sound Attack wasted no time to get their offense going in the absence of Joey Hishon, who is still ailing from the Brayden McNabb hit he sustained Saturday night.
Owen Sound got on the board early with a Matt Petgrave goal. The St. John Sea Dogs pushed back, outshooting the Attack 14-13 in the first period, but it was the Attack that came away from the first period leading 2-0. Jordan Binnington remained perfect through most of the game. He hadn’t allowed a goal since Game 7 of the OHL Championship Finals.
Owen Sound’s Andrew Shaw established his role as a scoring pest, egging Sea Dogs into committing penalties and also scoring a power play goal in the first period to make the score 2-0, closing the first period with a big scrum around the net, resulting in a handful of penalties to both teams.
Stanislav Galiev broke Binnington’s tournament shutout record in the second period, scoring on the power play after a beautiful passing setup by Tomas Jurco. For a short time, the momentum looked to shift toward St. John until an injury to Danick Gauthier.
Mike Halmo hit Gauthier into the Sea Dogs bench boards, but the bench door was not properly latched, and Gauthier crashed very awkwardly through the door. He left the game with an apparent left leg injury.
The game was halted as a trainer attended to Gauthier, and when it resumed, both teams were back on a level playing field. Gauthier returned a few minutes into the third period. But the bad blood continued, with retaliation penalties sending players in a constant procession to the penalty box.
The third period belonged to the St. John Sea Dogs. Stanislav Galiev was hit and fell awkwardly early in the period, and though he later returned, the Sea Dogs took control in his absence. The Sea Dogs did cough up a few pucks to the Attack, but Sea Dogs defenseman Pierre Durepos was always there when the Attack got a chance, making the smart defensive plays. Durepos had his best game thus far in the tournament.
As the minutes ticked down, Tomas Jurco once again dazzled the crowd, putting the puck past Binnington on an impossible angle to tie the game 2-2 with less than four minutes remaining in the game.
The score stayed 2-2 at the end of regulation, and for the first time in this year’s Memorial Cup, overtime was required. Back and forth for the whole overtime period, a turning point finally arrived with about 2:30 left. The Attack turned over the puck in their defensive zone. Michael Kirkpatrick gained control of the puck and passed it right to the tape of Jonathan Huberdeau, parked in front of the net. Huberdeau, just in front of the blue paint, ripped a wrist shot past Binnington to end the game at 3-2.
The Sea Dogs’ 2-0 record in the tournament gives them a bye to the Memorial Cup Finals on Sunday night. Their opponent will be determined in the coming days.
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