ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – After two exciting semifinals on Saturday, the gold medal game is set at the 2011 TELUS Cup.
The Winnipeg Thrashers (West) and London Jr. Knights (Central) will meet for Canada’s 33rd National Midget Championship on Sunday night at Mile One Centre after posting overtime victories in their respective semifinals. The Thrashers got an overtime winner from Brendyn Illchuk to beat the Lions du Lac St-Louis (Quebec) 4-3, while Adam Rzeszutko was the overtime hero for the Jr. Knights in their 4-3 win over the Vancouver North West Giants (Pacific).
Sunday’s gold medal game will be broadcast on TSN2 at 3 p.m. ET/noon PT, and on the main TSN network at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT. Check your local listings for the broadcast time in your area.
The Thrashers are making their third appearance at the National Midget Championship and will play in the gold medal game for the second time; they lost to the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves in 2008. They were the host team in 2009, when they finished fourth. Winnipeg is the eighth consecutive team from the West Region to qualify for the gold medal game; six of the first seven were crowned national champions.
The Jr. Knights are making their first appearance at the national championship.
The game marks the third time in four years that the West Region champions and Central Region champions will meet for Canada’s National Midget Championship, with each region winning once. Sudbury beat Winnipeg in 2008, while Notre Dame beat Mississauga last year.
In their semifinal, the Thrashers got goals from Tanner Quinn, Corey Petrash and Tyrenn Bauer in a span of 1:53 to take a 3-1 first-period lead, but the Lions tied the game with two second-period goals, setting up the heroics of Illchuk, who picked up a loose puck off a face-off and slipped a shot through the five-hole of Lac St-Louis goaltender François Brassard.
One day after beating the previously-undefeated Giants to score their lone win of the preliminary round and slip into the semifinals as the fourth-place team, the Jr. Knights held leads of 2-0 and 3-2 before the Giants forced overtime. In the extra period, Rzeszutko’s shot from the point eluded Vancouver netminder Daniel Cotton, moving London from winless to gold medal game participants in just over 24 hours.
Saturday’s action marked the first time since 1982 that both semifinals at the National Midget Championship required overtime, and it was the first time that a one-win team beat the top-seeded team in the semifinals.
The Thrashers and Jr. Knights met Wednesday in a preliminary round match-up. Goals from Morgan Winchar and Lyrik Friesen gave Winnipeg a 2-0 lead in the first period, but Mike Mandarelli, in the second period, and Connor Hogg, in the third, scored to earn a 2-2 tie for London and give the Jr. Knights their first point of the tournament.
The Lions and Giants will meet for the bronze medal on Sunday morning (10 a.m. NT). That game can be seen live via webcast through FASTHockey at hockeycanada.fasthockey.com for just $7.
NOTE TO MEDIA: Jason La Rose, Hockey Canada’s coordinator of content services, is on site in St. John’s and can be reached at 403-703-8791 or firstname.lastname@example.org for any interview requests.
The 2011 TELUS Cup is the third and final event held in Newfoundland and Labrador during the 2010-11 season to help celebrate the 75th anniversary of Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador. Last August, Canada’s National Junior Team held its summer development camp at Mile One Centre, while the top four women’s teams in the world – Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United States – took part in the 2010 4 Nations Cup in St. John’s and Clarenville in early November.
For more information on the 2011 TELUS Cup, visit www.hockeycanada.ca/teluscup, or follow the tournament via social media: