London Knights claim Memorial Cup championship

City of Red Deer officials deem 10-day tourney a success

CHAMPIONS - From left

CHAMPIONS - From left

BY ZACHARY CORMIER

Lacombe Express

They were the hottest team in the Canadian Hockey League coming into the 2016 MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament at Red Deer’s ENMAX Centrium.

Now, 10 days later, the London Knights are the Memorial Cup champions.

The Knights capped off an incredible 17 game winning streak that dated back to the second round of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs Sunday evening defeating the QMJHL Champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 3-2 in overtime to claim their second Memorial Cup since 2005.

“It’s one of those things, it’s hard to get. It takes a lot of time and I’m just happy for the boys, they earned it all year. To win 17 in a row in playoff time, in this tournament, you’re playing the best, it’s unheard of,” said Knights’ Head Coach/GM Dale Hunter after the dramatic conclusion to the game.

Led by the dominant line of Mitch Marner, Matthew Tkachuck and Christian Dvorak, the Knights cruised to the bye into the final during round robin play, posting a 3-0 record that included a 6-2 win over the Red Deer Rebels, a 9-1 trouncing ofthe Brandon Wheat Kings and a slightly closer 5-2 victory over the Huskies earlier in the week.

But the Huskies weren’t going to go down without a fight in the final, as they fought the Knights every step of the way, holding them scoreless in the first period before taking a one goal lead halfway through the third that put London behind for the first time in the tournament.

The Knights, though, would not be denied.

“You’ve just got to keep the same mindset. Being down in the third period and coming back we knew what we had to do bear down. It’s our last game of the season and leave everything on the line,” said Knights’ goalie Tyler Parsons.

Parsons was somewhat of an unsung hero for the Knights during the tournament, leading all four goalies with a 1.78 goals against average and a .942 save percentage to earn himself the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the Most Outstanding Goaltender at the Memorial Cup.

Parsons’ showstopping performance on the London end of the ice gave his team a chance to make a comeback from the 2-1 deficit.

And come back they did, as Dvorak scored his seventh goal of the tournament with just five minutes remaining in the third to send the contest into overtime.

“We had the momentum on our side, getting that last minute goal there we knew what we had to do. It came down to one shot and if we played good defense they were going to give us offensive chances,” Parsons said.

There was only one way the game could end, and after several heart-stopping close plays on both ends, the game came down to a two on one for London, with Tkachuck rifling in the goal heard around the hockey world.

“It’s right up there with all of the accolades, all of the awards. But it’s not about my goal. It’s about the team, it’s about the win, it’s about the 17 game winning streak, it’s about the way we carried ourselves into this tournament and the way we carried ourselves throughout this tournament,” said the 18-year-old draft eligible winger of his overtime winner.

Meanwhile, the host Red Deer Rebels were happy with their performance in the tournament overall.

“I’m proud of our players. We deserved to be in this game tonight. We had a 2-1 record and we played with this team tonight, too,” said Rebels’ Head Coach/GM Brent Sutter after his team’s 3-1 loss to the Huskies in the semi-final game on Friday night.

After a 6-2 loss to London in the first game of the tournament, many doubted the Rebels would be able to compete withthe high octane offence that the respective league champions brought to the table.

That all changed after Red Deer surged to a 5-2 win over the Huskies two nights later and followed it up with a dramatic 2-1 overtime victory over the WHL champion Brandon Wheat Kings on Tuesday.

The second win was enough to clinch second place in the round-robin standings behind London and eliminate the winless Wheat Kings from the tournament.

It was a sweet victory for the Rebels, as their season was ended by the Wheat Kings in the WHL Eastern Conference final less than a month ago.

“I guess part of it is no one has short memories. I know that we were beaten in the semis by Brandon and rightly so. They’vegot a very, very good hockey team. That’s the thing about this tournament, you can come in here and be a champion in your own league but if things don’t go exactly right you might not have success in it,” said Sutter.

zcormier@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

The Sylvan Lake Gulls show off the home jerseys (white) and their way jerseys at the Gulls Media Day on June 17, before the season opener. Following the media day, the team took to the field for their first practise. (Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News)
Sylvan Lake Gulls ready to throw first pitch as construction continues

The Gulls inaugural season kicks off June 18 with a game against the Edmonton Prospects

Alberta is now below 3,000 active cases of COVID-19, as the province reported 2,639 Wednesday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer below 100 active COVID-19 cases for first time since March

69.7 per cent of Albertans 12 and over have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on Friday, February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
U.S. border restrictions to remain in place until at least July 21

Safety minister says Canada, U.S. extending restrictions on non-essential international travel

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read