The hometown underdogs, Shawinigan Cataractes, defeated the London Knights 2-1 at 17:51 of overtime to win the 2012 Memorial Cup. Highly touted Leafs prospect Greg McKegg had a golden opportunity with less than ten minutes left in regulation, but failed to capitalize. Austin Watson had three top notch chances, one in the dying seconds of regulation, to seal the deal.. but the hockey gods just did not seem to favour the Knights all game long.
Early on, it appeared that the Knights were going to walk through the hometown hopefuls, who had just one day’s break in five days. The Cataractes failed to register a shot on goal in the opening ten minutes, and had only five shots nearly halfway through the second period. However, the latter stages of the game proved the opposite, as Shawinigan began to play inspired by their netminder’s heroic effort and ended the game with one more shot on goal than the Knights. It proved to be the difference as, undrafted winger, Anton Zlobin buried his second of the game at 17:51 of the fourth period to end an emotional overtime.
The Shawinigan Cataractes were eliminated in the second round of the QMJHL playoffs. It was 31 days before their first game in the Memorial Cup. They lost the tournament’s opening game to the Edmonton Oil Kings. They bounced back in round robin play to defeat the the London Knights 6-2. However, they took the more difficult road to the Final, finishing the round robin with a 1-2 record, they needed to win the tie-breaker against the Edmonton Oil Kings to advance to the semi-final. There, they defeated the Saint John Sea Dogs 7-4 to cap off three consecutive days of hockey before playing, and defeating, the London Knights in the Memorial Cup Final.
Check out the highlights here; a good back and fourth battle in a memorable final game..
London Knights goaltender, Michael Houser, tied an OHL season record 46 wins. He was named the OHL’s goaltender of the year and the OHL’s most outstanding player. Houser played an outstanding game, bailing out his team on a number of outstanding scoring chances, notably robbing Kubanov on multiple occasions. But the one award that Houser wanted most, eluded him at 17:51 of overtime. The crushed dream was evident in the dripping eyes of Michael Houser as his team proceeded to congratulate him on playing a spectacular game. Countless opportunities were given to the Knights to pull away early and to put it away late, but were unable to cash in on any of them.
Leafs prospect, Greg McKegg, had a weak showing in the Memorial Cup in comparison to his league leading scoring campaign with the Erie Otters upon his trade to the London Knights. Nonetheless, he experienced the highest level of hockey competition at the Junior level with a top notch team in London.
Maybe he regains his focus after this bitter defeat and returns reinvigorated. Regardless, a Memorial Cup experience will benefit his professional career through Maple Leaf development.