ARNPRIOR, ON – After two exciting semi-finals on Saturday, the gold medal game is set at the 2008 TELUS Cup.
The Winnipeg Thrashers (West) and Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves (Central) will battle for Canada’s 30th National Midget Championship on Sunday afternoon at the Nick Smith Centre after coming out victorious in their respective semi-finals. Winnipeg topped the Séminaire Saint-François Blizzard (Quebec) 4-1 in the early semi-final, while Sudbury knocked off the Calgary Buffaloes (Pacific) 5-2 in the late game.
Both teams will be looking to make a little history with a victory.
The Thrashers are looking to become the fifth team in a row from the West Region to claim the TELUS Cup, joining Brandon in 2004, Saskatoon in 2005 and Prince Albert in 20. Winnipeg enters the gold medal game with a remarkable 58-1 record through the regular season and playoffs in 2007-08, and is searching for their first national championship.
The Wolves are already the first Central Region champions to play for the National Midget Championship since the New Liskeard Cubs in 1997, and just the second ever, and a win would make them the first team from that region to ever claim a gold medal.
In their semi-final, the Thrashers got goals 22 seconds apart from TELUS Cup Top Scorer Mark Stone and Michael Hay in the game’s first 2:12 and a second goal from Stone late in the opening period as they jumped on the Blizzard early. Tournament Most Valuable Player Mathew Bodie, also named Top Defensive Player, rounded out the scoring late for the Thrashers, who ran their record at the 2008 TELUS Cup to a perfect 6-0.
The Wolves used a lethal powerplay to their advantage against the Buffaloes, scoring three times in nine chances. TELUS Cup Top Forward Mathieu Lecours, Devin Lockeyer and Denis Restoule had the man advantage goals for Sudbury, who will play for the national championship for the second time – they lost 5-4 to the Collège Charles-Lemoyne Riverains when they hosted the National Midget Championship in 1998. Deven Stillar and P.J. Taus – into an empty net – scored shorthanded late for the Wolves to ice the win.
The round-robin contest between the two teams was a virtual tie, as the Wolves – needing a win to overtake the Thrashers for first place – pulled goaltender Landon Noel in the final minute of a 4-4 tie, and Stone hit the empty net for a 5-4 Winnipeg win.
The puck will drop for the gold medal game at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, and can be seen on TSN/RDS, the official broadcaster of Hockey Canada, beginning at 6:00 p.m. ET.
The Blizzard and Buffaloes will play for the bronze medal on Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. ET at the Nick Smith Centre.