Saturday, April 3, 2010 @ 2:56pm
Dauphin, MB - Taking a page out of Ripley’s Believe it Not, Dauphin Kings won their first MJHL championship in 17 years in storybook fashion with a nail-biting 5-4 victory over Winnipeg Saints.
Cody Esposito emerged the hero of the evening when he scored the game winner with just 8:31 remaining in the third period, sending a raucous crowd of 2,100 into a deafening frenzy.
To see more pictures of the final CLICK HERE.
Kings, who captured their seventh championship in franchise history, appeared to be on the ropes early after falling behind 4-0 early in the second period. In a game which featured several heroes, Kings’ Colton Graf couldn’t have picked a better game to score his first of the playoffs. The goal sparked an almost unbelievable comeback, with Dauphin scoring two more goals - Troy Hunter and Steven Shamanski - in the next six minutes.
“All I thought was just shoot!,” Esposito said of the winning goal, which came after Saints’ goaltender Justin Leclerc left his net to retrieve the loose puck. The gamble failed, leaving an open net for Esposito, who made no mistake.
MJHL Player of the Year Shamanski scored the tying goal early in the third period, completing the miraculous comeback for the Kings, who last won the Turnbull Cup in the 1992-93 season, defeating the then, St. Boniface Saints.
Saints, who held period leads of 3-0 and 4-3, received a pair of shorthanded goals from captain Craig Simchuk, with singles from Paul Crane and Brad Olynyk. Saints dominated the first period, causing the Kings to pull starting goaltender Joe Caligiuri in favour of Brett Willows, who made his first appearance in the playoffs.
Willows made the most of his opportunity and calmly turned aside all Saint challengers.
EXTRA SHOTS: Several MJHL awards were also presented last night, with Joe Caligiuri of the Kings named Playoff MVP.....Steven Shamanski led all MJHL playoff scorers with 22 points.....Top goaltender in the playoffs was presented to Caligiuri.....The Kings now head off to the ANAVET Cup, facing either Yorkton Terriers or LaRonge Ice Wolves....The first two games of the ANAVET Cup will held in Saskatchewan.
Who was Hockey Manitoba's top team of 2012-13?
Number of votes: 56