HALIFAX, N.S. - The Halifax Oland Exports, who were the host team for the 2002 Royal Bank Cup, have gone the distance and captured the prestigious Royal Bank Cup.
The Oland Exports defeated the OCN Blizzard 3-1 on Sunday, May 12, in front of a boisterous crowd of 3,143 at the Halifax Forum.
Halifax gave up the game's first goal at the 8:04 mark of the first period, when Russell Spence beat Halifax goaltender Andrew Sim to give OCN a 1-0 lead.
The Blizzard would carry that lead into the second period, but Halifax tied things up early when Rob Dunphy put a puck past OCN goaltender Marc-André Leclerc just under two minutes into the middle frame. The game remained tied until the 12:13 mark of the third period, when B.J. Brown lifted a shot over Leclerc's left shoulder, giving the Exports the lead. Despite numerous chances late in the game, OCN could not beat Sim and Francis Cloutier put the game on ice with an empty net goal with 30 seconds to go.
Halifax becomes the first Atlantic team to win the National Junior "A" Hockey Championship since 1997 when the Summerside Western Capitals were crowned champions, also on home soil. The Oland Exports and the Western Capitals are the only two Atlantic teams to ever win the Royal Bank / Centennial Cup, dating back to the Cup's inception in 1971.