Game 8 of the Ontario Hockey League Finals went to the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors, with a potential enormous Game 9 Friday night.
Brandon Childerley looks on as Justin Shugg leaps to avoid a Matt Petgrave (not pictured) hit in last night's contest between the Majors and Owen Sound Attack at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga. (Josh Howald photo)
But first, the Owen Sound Attack must defeat the Kootenay Ice once again in order to make Friday night's semi-final after dropping a 3-1 decision at the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup last night. To win the Memorial Cup, Owen Sound must win three games over the next four nights. Every game starting now is an elimination game for every team at Canada's major junior hockey championship tournament.
Last night at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, the Memorial Cup hosts got some favourable calls from the officals, while Owen Sound - already without sniper Joey Hishon - lost captain Garrett Wilson to a shoulder injury in the first period. Rob Flick scored on a wrist shot from in close on a 5-on-3 power play late in the second period, and it stood up as the winner. Justin Shugg sealed the game with an empty net goal with 35 seconds remaining.
Jordan Mayer opened the scoring in this contest while the teams were playing 4-on-4 hockey. He took a nice pass Maxim Kitsyn and he fired a wrister than may have hit a stick before fooling Jordan Bnnington in the Attack net. Binnington turned in another strong performance, making 26 saves - including 11 in the first.
JP Anderson made 22 saves for the win, and the only shot to beat him came in the second period. After Binnington made a huge save at one end of the ice, Owen Sound wheeled up ice and Andrew Shaw cashed in driving the net. Robby Mignardi and Matt Stanisz assisted on the goal, which woke up the crowd of 5, 429. Shaw rarely left the ice, took most Owen Sound face-offs and finished with eight minutes in penalties. In fact, he was in the penalty box along with Mike Halmo when the Majors scored the winner.
Owen Sound's Liam Heelis tumbles over St. Michaels' goaltender JP Anderson last night at the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup. (Josh Howald photo)
Shaw crushed Casey Cizikas in what looked to be a clean hit, and on the delayed call, Halmo was whistled for interfering with Anderson. The goaltender was on his way to tbe bench for an extra attacker, but for some reason went to the door farthest from his net. In any event, Flick fired a wrist shot after taking a pass from Brett Flemming on the two-man edge, that Binnington got a piece of - but not all of. Owen Sound had a 5-on-3 of its own in the third period, but couldn't bury the few chances generated.
So tonight, the Attack have to face the Kootenay Ice, who defeated Saint John to stay alive Tuesday night. Saint John is off to the final, while the winner of tonight's Kootenay-Owen Sound game will face the Majors in Friday night's semi. The Attack beat the WHL champion Ice 5-0 earlier in the tournament. That was both team's first tournament game. Both Hishon and Wilson should be game-time decisions.
"It's could be a chance for some other guys to step up," said Binnington following the game. "It's a team game and we've faced injuries before."