SAINT JOHN - Jan Mysak’s goal at the 10:08 mark of overtime has sent the Hamilton Bulldogs to the 2022 Memorial Cup final.
The Montreal Canadiens prospect redirected a shot from the slot from Nathan Staios for his first goal of the tournament to defeat the Shawinigan Cataractes 4-3 and set up a date with the host Saint John Sea Dogs Wednesday night at TD Station.
Artem Grushnikov, Mason McTavish and Logan Morrison also scored for the Bulldogs, who outshot the Cataractes 43-36 en route to its first appearance in the tournament final. Mavrik Bourque, Olivier Nadeau and William Veillette replied for Shawinigan, who captured the President Cup as QMJHL Champions for the first time in the franchise’s 53-year history earlier this month.
The two clubs exchanged goals in a first period that saw the Bulldogs outshoot the Cataractes 9-8. After an extended period of tentative play, Bourque broke through for Shawinigan with his second goal of the tournament at the 14:39 mark, the 2020 Dallas Stars first-rounder converting on a saucer pass from Nadeau from in close that eluded the pad of Costantini. The OHL Champions would respond 1:50 later when Grushnikov, jumping up in the play on a 4-on-4 situation, converted a cross-crease feed from McTavish past an outstretched Coulombe to register his first tournament tally.
In a more openly played second period, the two teams would each find the back of the net once more. The Bulldogs, who outshot Shawinigan 18-15 in the frame, would go to work early and come away with its first lead of the contest at 1:23 as McTavish, after hitting the post moments earlier, corralled a centering feed from Winterton and fired a quick wrist shot past Coulombe, his fourth of the event. Nadeau would draw the President Cup winners even at the 5:49 mark with his fourth, tipping in a point shot from Isaac Menard that was allowed to stand after being reviewed for a potential high stick.
Veillette would pull the Cataractes ahead once more at 10:01 of the third period with his second of the tournament, getting a piece off an Angus Booth point shot that found it’s way past a screen Costantiti. Just under four minutes later, Morrison, parked in the slot, hammered home a centering pass from Winterton to tie things up once more for the Bulldogs, who outshot Shawinigan 11-7 in the third and had a goal disallowed earlier in the frame. For Morrison, the OHL Playoff MVP, it was his first tally of the event. This set the stage for Mysak’s heroics in an overtime period that saw the Bulldogs gradually mount pressure despite being outshot 6-5.
Wednesday’s Championship Final takes place at 6PM ET/7PM AT. The Sea Dogs will be aiming for its first title since 2011. This will be the third appearance by a Hamilton-based team in the final, after the Red Wings (1962) and Fincups (1976) each claimed the prize.