SHAWINIGAN, Quebec – Michael Chaput scored two goals and added an assists to help lead the Cataractes to a 7-4 win over the defending MasterCard Memorial Cup champions Saint John Sea Dogs earning a berth in the championship final.
The Sea Dogs were the first to get on the board at 4:29. Zack Phillips made a nifty move on the opposing blue-line, fooling a Cataractes defenseman before shooting a wrist shot past goaltender Gabriel Girard.
Michaël Bournival tied the score up at one a few minutes later. He pushed and poked at the puck which eventually found its way across the goal line. That seemed to energize the crowd and the hometown favourites rode that momentum, taking a 2-1 lead on a Brandon Gormley point shot at 9:24.
The Cataractes were caught with too many men on the ice, giving Saint John the first power-play opportunity of the game. The Sea Dogs were successful as Tomas Jurco recorded his first marker of the tournament by tipping a Kevin Gagné shot from the point.
Never miss a local story.
Shawinigan took a 3-2 lead just before the midway point of the second frame. Loïk Poudrier charged hard to the net and managed to get enough of the puck to put it past the goal line. It took less than two minutes for the Cataractes to extend their lead. Michael Chaput was the recipient of a beautiful pass in the slot from Michaël Bournival. He made no mistake, recording his fourth goal of the tournament. Anton Zlobin was credited with his third helper of the night on the play.
The Sea Dogs got a lucky break with a man down with just over three minutes to go in the second period. A few feet from centre ice, Jonathan Huberdeau cleared the puck which then took an awkward bounce before cruising over the shoulder of Gabriel Girard to make it 4-3.
Saint John managed to tie the score up at four at the midway mark of the third period. Tomas Jurco recorded his second goal of the night with a fine wrist shot from the right faceoff circle.
The Cataractes retook the lead at 13:14. Yannick Veilleux tipped a Morgan Ellis point shot behind Mathieu Corbeil. Michael Chaput and Pierre-Olivier Morin added markers in the final sixty seconds to put it away.
Michael Chaput was named the game’s first star.
The Cataractes are just the third team to win a Semi-Final matchup after competing in a Tie-Breaker game. The Victoriaville Tigres followed a similar path in 2002 before falling to the Kootenay Ice in 2002, and the Windsor Spitfires won four straight games in 2009 after starting the tournament 0-2.
The championship game of the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup goes Sunday night as the Shawinigan Cataractes take on the London Knights live on Sportsnet and TVA Sports starting at 7 pm ET.