YOUNG NATIONALS BEAT BUFFALOES, ADVANCE TO TELUS CUP FINAL
JASON LA ROSE
THUNDER BAY, Ont. – Sean Wu was terrific in a 36-save performance, helping the Toronto Young Nationals double up the Calgary Buffaloes 4-2 in the first semifinal Saturday at the 2019 TELUS Cup.
The Young Nationals will play for their second national title Sunday night (6:30 p.m. ET, TSN2) against the winner of second semifinal between the Cantonniers de Magog and Tisdale Trojans.
Ryan Mansfield led the offence with a goal and an assist for Toronto, which got goals from four different players and points from seven, including Wu.
The scoreless first period belonged to the goaltenders – Wu turned aside all 17 shots he faced, while Calgary counterpart Garin Bjorklund was perfect on 12 chances.
Mansfield finally broke through on a Toronto power play five minutes into the second period; the puck bounced off a couple of sticks before he spun on the backhand and beat Bjorklund.
Braden Plaschewsky pulled the Buffaloes even on a man advantage of their own late in the middle frame, playing give-and-go with Jayden Grubbe before redirecting the 1-1 goal upstairs on Wu.
Both teams hunted for the go-ahead goal early in the third period, but it was the Young Nationals who went ahead off the stick of Liam Del Mastro. After a misplay behind the Calgary goal, Del Mastro hammered a loose puck off the post and in.
Joshua Sinanan added the eventual game-winning goal midway through the third, outracing a Buffaloes defenceman to the puck and chipping a shot over the glove of Bjorklund.
Carter Benoit got Calgary back within one with 5:21 to go, cutting into the middle and snapping a quick shot past Wu, but Peter Stojcevski buried an empty-net goal as time ticked down to seal the win for the Young Nationals.
The Buffaloes will play for bronze on Sunday afternoon (1 p.m. ET). They have won a medal at six of their previous seven trips to Canada’s National Midget Championship.