Prince George, B.C.
LATE GOAL GIVES BLIZZARD FIRST WIN AT TELUS CUP
JASON LA ROSE
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Maxime Collin redirected in a point shot with just 15.7 seconds to go, earning the Blizzard du Séminaire Saint-François their first win of the 2017 TELUS Cup, 3-2 over the Regina Pat Canadians on Wednesday afternoon.
With a tie game looking likely, Collin got his stick on a shot from Yan-Cédric Gaudreault for the winner. The referees discussed a possible high-stick, but ultimately allowed the goal to stand,
The game matched two of the winningest teams in tournament history; the Blizzard and Pat Canadians have combined for 25 appearances, 110 wins and eight gold medals at Canada’s National Midget Championship.
Despite the history, both teams entered looking to get into the win column for the first time.
The first period was a feeling-out process, with the Blizzard holding a narrow 8-7 advantage in shots on goal through a scoreless opening 20 minutes.
Regina found the scoreboard first just past the four-minute mark of the second period thanks to Carson Denomie, who banged in a rebound after Preston Brodziak had circled the net and let go the initial shot.
Saint-François, who was shut out by Mississauga on Tuesday and carried a goalless drought of almost 127 minutes into the second period, had its first chance to pull even when Jakob Pelletier was slashed on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot. Pelletier showed off his quick hands, but Pat Canadians goaltender Dean McNabb stayed with him and turned away the attempt with the left pad.
Just minutes later, however, Pelletier got the puck back to Olivier Crête-Belzile, whose shot made its way through traffic and past McNabb on the power play to tie the game.
The Quebec champions struck again in the first minute of the third period when a hard forecheck by Collin resulted in a loose puck in close that Samuel Dickner knocked in to give the Blizzard their first lead of the week.
Regina responded off the stick of Adam Herold, who snuck a wrist shot from the point through Saint-François netminder Philippe Gaudreault to get the Saskatchewan champs back even with 8:10 to go.
The loss leaves the Pat Canadians with just a single point through three games; the West Region, which won eight of 12 national titles between 2002 and 2013, is winless in eight straight over the last two years.
The Blizzard are back to action Thursday night, taking on the host Cariboo Cougars (7:30 p.m. PT), while Regina tries again for its first win against the Leduc Oil Kings (12 p.m. PT).