Regina, Sask. – For the first time in franchise history, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan are Mastercard Memorial Cup Champions.
With a 3-0 shutout victory over the Regina Pats – Western Hockey League hosts of the 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup – the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League-champion Titan earned Major Junior hockey’s most coveted trophy Sunday evening on the ice of Regina’s Brandt Centre.
Goaltender Evan Fitzpatrick stopped all 28 shots he faced while Regina rookie Max Paddock did his part at the other end, turning aside 41 shots as the Pats were outdone 44-28 on the shot clock.
Overage defenceman Adam Holwell opened the scoring for the Titan with 3:50 left in the opening frame, taking a pass from Mitchell Balmas to walk in off the top of the circle and beat Paddock with a low shot, taking some life out of the sold out Brandt Centre.
The Pats were mainly limited to offensive attempts off the rush in the first as the Titan controlled the pace, outshooting Regina 12-5.
A scoreless second saw Acadie-Bathurst continue to press on the attack, putting Paddock to work as the youngster stopped all 24 shots he faced in the middle stanza. The Regina rookie thwarted high quality chances off the sticks of Mitchell Balmas, German Rubtsov and Ethan Crossman.
The Pats nearly broke their offensive silence with two minutes remaining in the second as tournament scoring leader Sam Steel fed Jared Legien off the rush, leading to a quick shot that rattled off the post and crossbar as the Titan continued to lead 1-0 after 40 minutes.
After Fitzpatrick was put to work early in the third with a denial of Steel from in tight, veteran sparkplug Samuel Asselin’s fifth of the tournament increased Acadie-Bathurst’s lead to two. Captain Jeffrey Truchon-Viel chipped in with the lone assist as the Titan led 2-0 with 6:58 to go in the third.
After numerous chances to score in the game, Ethan Crossman closed the deal, scoring an empty netter with 30 seconds to go as centreman Samuel L’Italien drew the lone assist.
Coming from one of the smallest markets in the Canadian Hockey League, with a population of merely 12,000 citizens, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan represent in so many ways the heart of the CHL and Major Junior hockey in Canada, making it fitting to have them win the 100th edition of the Memorial Cup.
The Titan have been in Bathurst since the 1998-99 season, having won six QMJHL titles over the course of 10 appearances in the President Cup.
This marks only the second appearance at the Mastercard Memorial Cup for Acadie-Bathurst. The club previously reached the national stage in 1999.
The Memorial Cup has been in competition since 1919, first presented in commemoration of the many great Canadian players who paid the supreme sacrifice in defence of their country in the First World War. Initially the symbol of the national junior championship, the Cup later signified Junior ‘A’ supremacy beginning in 1934 and Major Junior supremacy in 1971.
Competing annually, the winners of the Western, Ontario and Quebec Major Junior Hockey Leagues, along with a host Club, vie for the Memorial Cup Championship.
CLICK HERE for a complete list of previous Mastercard Memorial Cup Champions