The Shawinigan Cataractes endured a lot to get to the final of the MasterCard Memorial Cup: second-round QMJHL playoff exit, four games in a row towards the end of the Memorial Cup tournament (including a 6-1 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings and a 7-4 drubbing of the defending champion Saint John Sea Dogs) and controversy surrounding their role as host city. But the home team came back to defeat the London Knights, featuring Boston Bruins prospect Jared Knight, 2-1 in overtime and win their first Memorial Cup in their 43-year history.
The Knights started out strong, though, holding the Cataractes to just four shots on goal in the first period and striking first inside the raucous Centre Bionest. They started the score sheet at just under six minutes into the first as Matt Rupert and Austin Watson helped Matt’s twin brother Ryan score. But the Cataractes found an answer three minutes into the second period with Anton Zlobin‘s first of the night. It was the kind of goal Michael Houser would rather have back–the London defense wasn’t doing so well in front of his net at the time and it just sailed right past him.
Perhaps trying to get the energy back after that goal, the Knights pressed on in the second, though to no avail (not for lack of trying). The third period was more of the same, including a great chance for London right near the end that would have prevented overtime, but with everything knotted at one, the Memorial Cup would come after some overtime heroics.
Given just one opportunity on the power play, the Knights did not do well: no shots on goal and a few too many trips down to their own end. But the Cataractes got two power plays and converted on neither as well. In overtime, the referees swallowed their whistles and let play go on naturally. Just as it looked like a second overtime period might be necessary, Zlobin struck again to end it.
Knight did make contributions–he was often seen buzzing around Shawinigan’s net, trying to set up plays; he won all but one of his faceoffs and he threw four hits–although at one point there was a strange moment where he had another player’s stick stuck inside the ear strap on his helmet and SportsNet showed that on a closeup. Still, he will make a good asset for the Bruins someday, and being part of the OHL champion team and a team that made it all the way to the Memorial Cup final isn’t bad either.
Next year, the Memorial Cup will be in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and hosted by the Saskatoon Blades.
As the 2012 draft rolls around, look for more articles here to focus on up-and-coming Bruins and potential future Bruins!
Read more articles from Emma Harger here.