It was familiar territory for the Shawinigan Cataractes in the second round-robin game of the 2022 Memorial Cup presented by Kia Tuesday as the squad rallied for a pair of quick goals in the final frame to down the Edmonton Oil Kings 4-3.
Marking the first time the two sides have met at the year-end championship since the tie-breaker game in 2012, the Cataractes were the first to find the scoreboard when 2005-born blue-liner Jordan Tourigny walked into the slot on a first period powerplay and beat Oil Kings netminder Sebastian Cossa with an unassisted marker. The man advantage came following a game misconduct assessed to the Oil Kings’ Carson Golder who also drew a five-minute major for boarding approaching the eight-minute mark of the first period.
A 2021 first-round selection of the Detroit Red Wings, Cossa turned aside 10 shots in the initial frame including a big two-on-one stop with 3:26 remaining to hold the opposition to a one-goal edge.
Evening at one a side, the Oil Kings capitalized with just 44 seconds remaining in the first period on a tally from hulking rearguard and Nashville Predators draftee Luke Prokop who drew it back off a draw and fired it home behind Cataractes goaltender Charles-Antoine Lavallee.
Playing without leading scorer and Arizona Coyotes 2021 first rounder Dylan Guenther due to injury, the Oil Kings turned to offensive reinforcements in the second as chipping in were fellow forwards Tyler Horstmann and Cole Miller as the team pulled ahead 3-2 after Cataractes right-wing and Edmonton Oilers 2021 first-round pick Xavier Bourgault lit the lamp just over 10 minutes earlier after grabbing a backhand pass from linemate Charles Beaudoin.
Shawinigan then took command in the closing period, twice finding the back of the net in a 78-second span on goals from overage right-wing Pierrick Dube and Buffalo Sabres up-and-comer Olivier Nadeau.
“There is the belief that they can come back. They have seen it in the past,” Cataractes hockey operations assistant and 2000 graduate Pascal Dupuis said postgame. “They have come back in the playoffs and the season. This team believes in themselves that they can come back in any game. The adjustments we made in the third period, getting pucks behind their ‘D’ and making them turn, and our top guys were the better players.”
Falling short both on the scoreboard and on the shot clock (28-35), the Oil Kings liked their start but pointed to lapses in play as the game progressed.
“We got something going there at the end, but we didn’t seem like we were very connected 5-on-5,” Oil Kings head coach Brad Lauer told reporters. “We are a better team than we showed tonight. I think the guys were a little bit nervous and at the end of the day I didn’t think we were good enough. We are usually good in the third and I think we said all the right things after the second, about managing, keeping shifts short, getting pucks in, and fore-checking, but unfortunately we had a lapse, they got the momentum, and we started chasing.”
For the Oil Kings, it will be a quick reset as the club looks to return to its winning ways when it retakes the ice Wednesday versus the host Saint John Sea Dogs in the third round-robin contest of the 2022 Memorial Cup presented by Kia.