SHAWINIGAN, Que. - The Edmonton Oil Kings squeaked out a 4-3 win over the Shawinigan Cataractes to open up the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament on Friday night at Centre Bionest.
Henrik Samuelsson scored the winner at 13:42 of the third period to give the Western Hockey League champions a 1-0 start at the tournament. Shawinigan’s loss drops them to 0-1.
Shawinigan certainly didn’t look as bad as many had thought they would. They were competitive and gave Edmonton a good run. It’ll be interesting to see how they play as the tournament goes on.
The Cataractes did get off to a rough start though as Kristians Pelss scored at 2:41 to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. But Shawinigan tied things up at 8:36 on a power play thanks to a Michael Chaput marker.
Shots were 14-9 Shawinigan in the first but just 5-5 in the second. The middle frame was about as exciting as the Devils-Rangers game the other day. There was a rare Memorial Cup fight in the frame though as Dillon Donnelly dropped the gloves against Mitchell Moroz.
Things sped up in the third. Goals from Griffin Reinhart and Martin Gernat gave Edmonton a 3-1 lead less than six minutes in. Then things got a bit controversial.
At 6:37, Anton Zlobin pushed the puck past Edmonton netminder Laurent Brossoit and it crossed the line just as the whistle went. It was waved off by QMJHL referee Nicolas Dutil so the play went upstairs. Thanks to Sportsnet’s technology, viewers were able to listen in on the conversation between Dutil and the dude upstairs. It was total confusion, with the upstairs guy eventually saying to go with the call on the ice. Dutil then called it a goal, reversing the on-ice call he originally made. Very bizarre. That made it a 3-2 game.
Then at 13:19, Chaput capitalized on a brutal Edmonton turnover to make it a 3-3 game. But the Oil Kings quickly retook the lead as Samuelsson netted the eventual winner at 13:42.
Shawinigan did have some chances later on – including a power play – but they could not connect.
Brossoit made 30 saves for the win while Alex Dubeau made 20 in the loss.
Edmonton went 0/2 on the power play while Shawinigan went 1/3.
- Game didn’t start until 8:32pm.
- The ice was terrible.
- Cataractes wore some solid jerseys.
- Brandon Gormley had seven shots.
- Kirill Kabanov got hit in the face and required stitches. There was a lot of blood on the ice.
Tomorrow night at 8pm, the Saint John Sea Dogs play the London Knights. Buckle up.