The Cariboo Cougars are BC Major Midget Champions.
The Cougars shutdown the Greater Vancouver Canadians’ high-powered offence for a second straight day, winning 4-0 to clinch the best-of-three series in the third game.
Marcus Allen made 20 saves and Jeremy Gervais and Daine Dubois each posted three point games. Allen also shutout the Canadians 2-0 in Game 2 on Saturday.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Allen said after the team celebrated the win on home ice in front of a full house at Kin 1. “It’s not often you get two shutouts in a row in the playoffs.”
Gervais, Trey Thomas, Brandon Rowley and Hunter Floris scored the goals, but it was the team’s ability to keep the Canadians off the scoreboard that sealed the win.
“We knew that’s what we had to do,” said Thomas. “Two of their top players are the leading scorers in the league and we had to shut them down. We did just that.”
The title comes after the Cougars lost in the final in each of the last two years. Defencemen Joel Patsey and Jesse Pomeroy were part of both of those teams and relished the win on Sunday.
“It’s pretty special after two losses,” said Pomeroy. “We battled through it, came back in our third year and took it all.”
Patsey, who helped set up Thomas’ goal, is thrilled to finally capture the trophy.
“We didn’t want to go oh and six in finals,” Patsey said referencing the Cougars record in the last five finals they’ve qualified for. “That fuelled us into Game 2 and after we won that we wanted to do the same thing today. And we executed.”
For head coach Trevor Sprague the win means the team fulfilled it’s goal of earning a berth in the Telus Cup.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s the best thing that I’ve ever done with this organization,” he said. “It’s great for our fans, it’s great for our alumni, it’s unbelievable for these players who are here right now. They’ve paved the way for future Cariboo Cougars teams.”
Gervais broke the ice at 12:55 of the first period on the power play. It only took eight seconds after the penalty for the Cougars to convert as they won the draw in the offensive zone, worked the puck around quickly, eventually finding Gervais who had taken a few steps in from his point position. He fired a quick shot past Shaw. Daine Dubois and Jarin Sutton got the assists.
The Canadians came out flying in the second period, but Allen was up to the task with one spectacular save after the next. Whether it was flashing the leather to stop Scott Atkinson, denying Noah Kelly on a clearcut breakaway or getting in position to block Henry Rybinski off a centering pass, the Cougars netminder was there to protect the lead.
The Cougars took advantage of one of their chances at 9:57 of the period. Dubois gained the zone, shaking off four defenders as be stick handled waiting for help as the Cougars sent out fresh skaters. He sent the puck back to Joel Patsey at the point. His shot was stopped, but after a scramble in front Thomas banged in the rebound.
Rowley added an insurance marker at 5:32 of the third, finishing off a passing play initiated by Dubois and Gervais.
Floris slid one into an empty net at 18:44, with Gervais getting the assist.
Canadians goalie Lukas Shaw made 18 saves.
The Cougars have a few weeks to get ready for the Telus Cup, which starts April 24.
“I feel like we’re peaking at the right time,” Thomas said. “Everyone is pushing in the right direction. We’re going to be coming in hot to Telus.”