– The Cobourg Cougars, hosts of the 2017 RBC Cup, have been crowned this
year’s national Junior A champions following a 3-2 overtime win over the
The Cougars opened up the scoring 3:56 into the first period on a goal by
Jamie Huber (Goderich, Ont.). Conner Jean (Oakland, Mich.) tied it up for
the Bandits less than five minutes later, and the teams would stay at one
goal apiece until a third-period goal by Bandits’ captain Nick Prkusic
(Medicine Hat, Alta.) at 11:29 of the third.
Ryan Casselman (Napanee, Ont.) forced the game into overtime, scoring with
just 67 seconds to go in regulation time; Nick Minerva (New
Brunswick, N.J.) brought the building to its feet, netting the game-winner
at 8:21 in overtime.
“When I was sitting on the bench, I was saying to Matt Bumstead, my D
partner, and we were talking about how we were gonna end this thing,
somehow, some way,” said Minerva during the on-ice celebration with his
team. “I saw the puck come out, it kind of bobbled a little bit, and I saw
that the Brooks guys didn’t challenge me at all. I blacked out and closed
my eyes, took the hardest shot I ever took in my life, and it went it. It
still hasn’t really hit me to be honest with you.”
The Cougars’ Stefano Durante (Brampton, Ont.) – the 2017 RBC Cup Top
Goaltender – turned away 41 shots in the win. Tournament MVP Cale Makar (Calgary) was the
only player on either team to earn two points in the game, assisting on
both Brooks goals, including the go-ahead-goal by Prkusic.
“[The season] was incredible. To me, we’re the best team in this country,
and when it comes down to one game where anything can happen, and the worst
happened,” said an emotional Prkusic after some time with his teammates in
the Brooks dressing room following the game. “I love that group of guys in
there, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ll have those memories for the rest
of my life – it was the best year of my life, and the best three years of
my life, and I can’t say enough about the organization, the coaches, the
fans, the community.”
Brooks heads home as AJHL and Western Canada Cup champions, having lost only six
of 84 games in regulation time this season.
The RBC Cup is made possible thanks to the partnership between Hockey
Canada and the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), and the support of
RBC. For more information on the 2017 RBC Cup, please visit HockeyCanada.ca/RBCCup, or
follow along via social media on Facebook or Twitter.