The Moncton Flyers are headed west for the 2012 TELUS Cup, crowned Atlantic champions after a perfect 5-0 run through the regional tournament in Torbay, N.L.
The Flyers capped off the weekend with a 5-1 win over the St. John’s Privateers, their second victory in as many days over the Newfoundland & Labrador Major Midget Hockey League champions, who were trying to clinch a third consecutive trip to the National Midget Championship.
Instead it will be Moncton making the journey to Leduc, Alta., representing the Atlantic Region for the second time in four years; the Flyers missed the playoff round after going 1-4 at the 2009 tournament in Selkirk, Man.
“We were committed to winning and we did,” Moncton head coach John DeCourcey told hockeyscene.com. “We have our ticket to the nationals in Leduc and have a couple of weeks to heal and get ready. We'll take a few days off to celebrate and then get back on the ice Thursday to get ready.”
After a fairly uneventful run through the New Brunswick playoffs – they dropped just one game in series wins over Saint John and Fredericton – the Flyers continued their strong play through the preliminary round at the Atlantic Regional, outscoring the opposition 17-5 in four wins to earn a spot in the final against St. John’s.
But the Privateers used their big-game experience to their advantage to start the championship game, outshooting Moncton 16-4 in the opening 20 minutes, although a late goal from Flyers captain Lindon Beckwith meant the game went to the first intermission tied 1-1.
Moncton took over from there, scoring four times in the second period – two by Beckwith to complete his hat trick – to open up a lead they would not relinquish.
“They weren't pretty,” Beckwith said of his goals, which gave him a tournament-leading six, despite missing one game. “I just drive to the net and put the puck in. Just look for a hole and jab it home.”
This year’s trip to the national championship will be the seventh for Moncton, although four of the previous six came in a four-year stretch from 1977-80, when the Flyers finished as high as fourth when they hosted the tournament in 1977, then known as the Wrigley Cup.
Can the Flyers become the first Atlantic team to win gold? This year marks a decade since Sidney Crosby led the Dartmouth Subways to the region’s best finish, a silver medal at the 2002 tournament in Bathurst, N.B.
ROAD TO THE TELUS CUP: MONCTON FLYERS
New Brunswick/P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League
PRE – 1st place (4-0 – defeated Cornwall Thunder 4-2, defeated St. John’s Maple Leafs 5-1, defeated Halifax Titans 3-1, defeated St. John’s Privateers 5-1)
ALL-TIME AT THE NATIONAL MIDGET CHAMPIONSHIP: MONCTON FLYERS
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