It was win or go home for both the Western Hockey League (WHL) champion Edmonton Oil Kings and the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) titleist Hamilton Bull Dogs at the Memorial Cup Hockey Tournament in Saint John, New Brunswick last night (June 24).
When the smoke cleared, the Bull Dogs live on while Airdrie's Jake Neighbours and the Oil Kings will leave the maritime province disappointed after Hamilton's 4 - 2 victory to book their place in Monday night's semi final where they'll face either the host Saint John Sea Dogs or the Quebec Major Junior Hockey Leaue winners the Shawinigan Cataractes. Neighbours and the Oil Kings finish the tournament with one overtime win and two losses with their lone win coming against the Sea Dogs by a 3 - 2 margin.
In last night's game the Bull Dogs jumped out to a 2 - 0 first period lead on a pair of power-play goals by Avery Hayes and Ryan Winterton.
After a scoreless middle frame the Oil KIngs struck shorthanded on a shot by Jalen Luypen, a draft pick of the Chicago Black Hawks. The Bull Dogs regained their two goal advantage on a goal by Mason McTavish with less than seven minutes left in the third.
The Oil Kings pushed to cut the lead after that and, with under three minutes remaining Neighbours recorded his first goal of the tournament when he tipped in a shot from the point to cut the Hamilton lead to one. That was as close as Edmonton came as Bull Dogs goaltender Marco Costantini, who was chosen the game's first star with a 40 save performance, shut the door. McTavish added his second of the game into the empty Edmonton net with one second to play to give Hamilton their 4 - 2 win and move them on to Monday's semi.
According to Neighbours, who spoke with reporters following the loss, the game was likely Edmonton's best of the tournament. “I thought it was the best game of the tournament for us. We couldn’t finish early … I have a wide open net there, I have to finish, and there were some other chances that could have gone in."
The round-robin portion of the tournament concludes today with a contest featuring Saint John and Shawinigan. Puck drop for that one is at 2:00 pm Mountain time. The semi-final goes at 5:00 pm Monday with the Memorial Cup championship for 2022 being decided on Wednesday with the game getting underway at 5:00 pm.
Send your news tips, story ideas, pictures, and videos to firstname.lastname@example.org