Red Deer Optimist Rebels 5 - Vancouver NW Giants 0
BOULANGER CONTINUES SHUTOUT STREAK, OPTIMIST REBELS REMAIN UNBEATEN
Three games, three shutouts. The 2007 TELUS Cup is turning into the Marc Boulanger Show.
The Red Deer Optimist Rebels goaltender turned aside all 23 shots he faced in his team’s 5-0 win over the Vancouver North West Giants on Wednesday night, recording his third shutout in as many games at the National Midget Championship in Red Deer, AB.
“Things are going well for me and the pucks aren’t going in, but my teammates are a big reason why I’m having success,“ Boulanger says. “They’re blocking shots and clearing the front of the net. I wouldn’t be having any success without them.”
The first period finished with neither team on the scoreboard, but with plenty of opportunities. The Optimist Rebels held a 16-9 advantage in shots over the first 20 minutes.
Five minutes into the middle frame, Eric Slemp dented the mesh behind Giants goaltender Graeme Gordon to give the Optimist Rebels a one-goal lead.
Kyle Reynolds, Corey Campbell and Cass Mappin scored in the opening six minutes of the third period, chasing Gordon, and Reynolds added his second of the game against Kyle Nielsen to round out the scoring.
The game also served as the Pacific Region championship, as the Optimist Rebels and Giants never met prior to the tournament.
With the Optimist Rebels already in the TELUS Cup as the host team, the Regional championship was deemed unnecessary, and Wednesday’s round-robin meeting was used to decide the champion.
Boulanger was the Player of the Game for the Rebels and also received the $500 TELUS Scholarship that went to the Most Valuable Player from the Regional champion.
Aaron Klatt earned Player of the Game for the North West Giants, who fell to 1-2 at the National Midget Championship.
The Optimist Rebels face-off with the Prince Albert Mintos Thursday night in a meeting of the last two remaining undefeated teams, while the Giants take on the Séminaire Saint-François Blizzard on Thursday afternoon.
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PREVIEW: OPTIMIST REBELS LOOK TO BUILD ON BIG WIN
Coming off a 10-0 shellacking of the St. John’s Maple Leafs, the Red Deer Optimist Rebels look to all but wrap-up a semi-final berth when they take on the Vancouver North West Giants on Wednesday night at Red Deer Arena.
Six different Optimist Rebels found the back of the net during Tuesday night’s rout, led by Landon Hiebert’s hat trick. The TELUS Cup hosts have proven themselves as definite tournament favourites, outscoring their opponents 12-0 in two games and allowing only 29 shots on goal.
The win over the Maple Leafs ran the Optimist Rebels’ home winning streak to 26 games, meaning that any team hoping to keep the hosts from Sunday’s championship game will have to do what no other team has done this season: win at Red Deer Arena.
The Giants topped the Sault Ste. Marie North Stars 2-1 on Tuesday afternoon, becoming the first British Columbia team to win a game at the National Midget Championship since the host Prince George Cougars topped Saskatchewan’s Beardy’s Blackhawks 6-4 in 2001.
The Giants have showed why they were the B.C. Major Midget League’s top defensive team in the regular season, allowing only three goals in two games. Goaltender Graeme Gordon, he of the 0.50 playoff goals against average, has been in goal for just one of those goals in close to 108 minutes of action.
With the host Optimist Rebels winning the Alberta Midget Hockey League championship, the Pacific Regional was deemed unnecessary. Wednesday night’s game will decide the Pacific champion, and who gets the bragging rights that are sure to go along with it.