FORT MCMURRAY, ALBERTA - The Fort McMurray Oil Barons have captured their first ever Royal Bank Cup and National Junior A Hockey Championship with a 2-1 victory over the Rayside Balfour Sabrecats at the Thickwood Heights Arena in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
The first period was scoreless, although Fort McMurray carried the play, outshooting Rayside Balfour 16-5. Sébastien Laplante was flawless in net for the Sabrecats, making a number of spectacular saves.
Nevin Patterson rewarded his teammate at 1:21 of the middle frame, beating the Oil Barons' Brent Zelenewich with wrist shot. Fort McMurray's response came early in the third, as Nathan Roscychuk scored following a scramble in front of Laplante. And, at 8:01, Tyler Brough put the Oil Barons ahead with what proved to be the decisive goal. The Oil Barons held on from then on for a 2-1 victory.
The Oil Barons are the first host team to win the Royal Bank Cup since 1997, when the Summerside Western Capitals captured the Championship in PEI. Since this tournament format was adopted in 1985, the have been four other host teams who have won the title: Orillia, ON (1985), Vernon, BC (1990), Olds, AB (1994) and Summerside, PEI (1997).
Overall, Fort McMurray is the 6th Alberta team to capture the National Junior A Hockey Championship. British Columbia leads in this department with 8 titles, followed by Ontario with 7, Saskatchewan and Alberta with 6, Manitoba with 2 and PEI with 1.
The Royal Bank Cup championship game was broadcast live across Canada on TSN and RDS
The Royal Bank Cup is Canada's National Junior A Championship. Fort McMurray and the Oil Barons are the proud hosts of the Championship May 5-14, 2000 at Thickwood Heights Arena
For more information on the Royal Bank Cup, visit the Championship's official website at www.royalbankcup.com or the Canadian Hockey Association's official website at www.canadianhockey.ca.
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