SELKIRK, Man. – For the first time in 23 years, the Notre Dame Hounds have won Canada’s National Midget Championship.
Drew George scored twice and added an assist and Christopher Gibson turned aside all 43 shots he faced for the shutout as Notre Dame (West) topped the Calgary Buffaloes (Pacific) 4-0 in Sunday afternoon’s gold medal game in front of 1,281 fans at the Selkirk Recreation Complex.
The gold medal is the third for the Hounds at the National Midget Championship, along with national titles won in 19. The three gold medals ties Notre Dame for second all-time at the tournament, joining Lac St-Louis (1981, 1985, 1992), Ste-Foy/Séminaire Saint-François (1979, 1996, 2001) and Richelieu/Collège Charles Lemoyne (1987, 1990, 1998). Only the Regina Pat Canadians, with four (1983, 1988, 1994, 1999), have won more.
Coming off a heart-stopping semifinal victory over Laval-Bourassa on Saturday, in which they needed two goals in the final six minutes to earn the victory, the Hounds struck early on Sunday, as George beat Calgary netminder Sam Brittain just 100 seconds after the opening faceoff.
George set up Milson for the 2-0 goal just 6:04 later, and the Hounds used Gibson’s goaltending to take them the rest of the way. George notched his second of the game just 59 seconds into the third period, and Hounds captain Ben Gamanche, the tournament’s Top Forward, rounded out the scoring late.
Gibson was at his best in the third period, making 18 saves as the Buffaloes tried in vain to get back into the game. Overall, Notre Dame outshot the Buffaloes 44-43.
The runner-up finish is the second for the Buffaloes, joining the silver medal they won in 2006 in Charlottetown, P.E.I. In seven trips to the National Midget Championship, Calgary has now won six medals, including gold in 1989.
In Sunday morning’s bronze medal game, the Rousseau Sports de Laval-Bourassa (Quebec) got two goals from Alexandre Lavoie on their way to a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Thrashers (Host). The Quebec Region champion has now won a medal at 12 consecutive National Midget Championships, dating back to 1998.
The 2010 TELUS Cup will be held in April 2010 in Lévis, Que., with the Commandeurs de Lévis serving as the host team.