RED DEER, AB – For the first time in the 29-year history of the National Midget Championship, a team has won back-to-back national championships.
Ryan Fox scored the TELUS Cup-winning goal after just 48 seconds of double overtime as the Prince Albert Mintos (West) defeated the Red Deer Optimist Rebels (Host) 3-2 in front of a National Midget Championship-record crowd of 4,423 at the Enmax Centrium in Red Deer.
The Mintos, who also won the 2006 TELUS Cup in Charlottetown, PE, have now won 14 consecutive games at the tournament.
Prince Albert jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, as Curtis Kulchar and Tyler Fiddler, who was named the tournament’s Top Forward at the awards banquet on Friday night, scored within the first 10 minutes of the game.
Darren Windle got the Optimist Rebels to within one six minutes into the second period, as his point shot beat a screened Carsen Chubak, the 2007 TELUS Cup’s Top Goaltender.
After holding back the Red Deer offense for the first half of the final period the Mintos finally cracked, as Optimist Rebels defenseman Colin Archer jumped into the play and beat Chubak five-hole to tie the game.
A 10-minute overtime period solved nothing, and it didn’t take long for Fox to strike in the second extra period, taking a pass from Torey Stott and beating TELUS Cup MVP Marc Boulanger low to the glove side, setting off a raucous celebration in the Enmax Centrium by the hundreds of green-clad Minto fans.
Fox took home Player of the Game honours for the Mintos while Boulanger, who made 33 saves, received the award for the Optimist Rebels.
In the bronze medal game on Sunday morning, the Séminaire Saint-François Blizzard got first-period goals from Dave Labrecque, Maxime Gravel, Sebastien Trudeau and Jonathan Hazen on their way to a 5-1 win over the Vancouver North West Giants, the team’s 12th medal in 13 appearances at the National Midget Championship.
The 2008 TELUS Cup will be held in April 2008 in Arnprior, ON.