The Acadie-Bathurst Titan have won the 100th Memorial Cup by a final score of 3-0. It is the first ever win for the franchise.
The final featured the hometown Regina Pats and the QMJHL Champion Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Both teams went 2-1 in the round-robin portion of the tournament. The Titan had the better goal difference and advanced directly to the final, while the Pats had to play in the Semi-Final. The Pats defeated the OHL Champion Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday, winning 4-2.
The Stafford Smythe Trophy as tournament MVP was Sam Steel of the Pats, who put up 13 points in just five games in the tournament.
The 100th Memorial Cup Final
The Titan were the better team early. They spent most of the first period in the Regina end of the ice. Shots in the period were 12-5 for Acadie-Bathurst, but Regina goaltender Max Paddock stood tall. The team from New Brunswick finally took the lead with 3:48 left in the period. Overage defenceman Adam Holwell scored in his final junior hockey game. His wrist shot from the right face-off circle slid along the ice, and into the bottom right corner of the net. Mitchell Balmas and Antoine Morand assisted on the goal.
The Titan began the second period much the way that they finished the first. If anything, they became even more in control of the game. They had the first 17 shots of the period, and again it was Paddock standing tall to keep the Pats in the game. The pinching Titan defencemen, including top-10 rated NHL Draft Eligible Noah Dobson, kept the puck in the Regina zone and kept the pressure on. The Pats would finally get their first shot of the period 11 minutes in. Libor Hajek and Cale Fleury would get a couple of shots from the point but Evan Fitzpatrick was up to the test, despite the lack of action.
The Pats would come on late in the period, with Anaheim Ducks prospects Sam Steel and Josh Mahura creating some chances, but Fitzpatrick was up to the task. The shots in the period ended 24-6, but the Titan would take just a one-goal lead into the third.
The Pats opened the third far better than they did in either of the first two periods. They were dominating possession, hemming the Titan in their own zone. It was now Fitzpatrick’s turn to put on a goaltending display, with the Pats owning an 11-2 shot advantage in the first 11 minutes of the period.
Things would start to turn towards the Titan when Cameron Hebig was called for a puck over glass penalty. While they did not score on the power play, the momentum started to change. Captain Jeffrey Truchon-Viel would set up Samuel Asselin in front of the net, and he would give the Titan a two-goal lead with less than seven minutes left.
A Jordan Maher penalty with under five minutes left would open the door just a bit for the Pats. However, Asselin would get the best chance on the penalty kill. Paddock came up with another key save to stop him on a breakaway, and the Titan would kill the penalty. Ethan Crossman would seal the deal with an empty-net goal with 30 seconds left. St. Louis Blues prospect Evan Fitzpatrick made 28 saves for the shutout.
The Titan would win the game despite losing captain Truchon-Viel with less than six minutes to play on a hit by Fleury.