The 2012 Ontario Hockey League Cup Showcase Tournament hosted by the Greater Toronto Hockey League continued Saturday night at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, ON, with both Semi-Final matchups.
Semi-Final 1: Mississauga Rebels 3 vs. Ottawa 67’s 1
By Ryan Metivier, OHL Cup Staff Writer
Two undefeated teams matched up in semi-final play in the OHL Cup Saturday night with the Mississauga Rebels prevailing 3-1.
The 67’s entered the game as one of the tournament’s highest scoring teams with 23 goals. The Rebels on the other hand, brought the tournament’s stingiest defence to the game by only allowing three goals in five games, though also having success offensively with 19 goals.
Slowing down Ottawa’s offence was key to the game plan for Rebels’ head coach Geoff Schomogyi.
“We wanted to neutralize their speed in the neutral zone as they generate a lot of speed there,” he said.
The Rebels got on the attack early once the puck was dropped, benefitting from two Ottawa penalties in the first four minutes. 67’s goalie Brent Moran withstood the barrage of shots to help Ottawa kill off both penalties. The Rebels stayed on the offensive for the rest of period keeping the puck in the Ottawa zone for the majority of the period and holding a decisive edge in shots.
Ottawa picked up their play early in the second period forcing Rebels’ goalie Liam Herbst to make several big saves in the opening minutes.
The Rebels came close to opening the game’s scoring at just over five minutes into the second when forward David Miller rushed in and nearly squeezed the puck past Moran, thinking he’d scored, but the puck hadn’t crossed the line.
At 2:33, despite Ottawa killing off an early penalty, the Rebels kept the pressure on and finally broke the scoreless tie with a goal by Brett Hargrave, assisted by Michael Prapavessis. Less than two minutes later defensemen Stephen Desrocher added to the Rebels’ lead with a slap shot from the point that beat Moran stick-side.
“I got a great pass from my partner and had a lot of time and space,” said Desrocher. “I wound up, took a good slap shot and hoped for the best and it turned out to be the game-winning goal.”
After the Rebels took their first penalty at 8:07 of the third, it took Ottawa all of 23 seconds to capitalize, when Patrick White scored on the power play to bring the 67’s within a goal at 2-1.
“I told the guys to make sure we were 100 per cent on our pinches and make sure to get the puck in deep and take care of our two blue lines after that goal,” said Schomogyi.
That would be as close as Ottawa would come though, with Mississauga sealing the game with an empty net goal by Hargrave to give the Rebels the 3-1 win and a trip to the finals.
“Instead of sitting back on defence we were on the offence a lot today,” said Schomogyi. “We got pucks deep early and were able to get a lot of shots and keep the play in the offensive zone.”
Descrocher added his excitement for getting to play in the biggest game of his young hockey career on Sunday.
“I’ve been working all my life for this,” he said. “We lost in the GTHL Final to the Marlies and hopefully we’ll get a second chance at them tomorrow.”
Rebels Player of the Game – Dylan Di Perna (1A)
67’s Player of the Game – Brent Moran (Goaltender)
Semi-Final 2: Toronto Marlboros 7 vs. Ottawa Valley Titans 1
By Ryan Metivier, OHL Cup Staff Writer
The Marlboros and Titans hooked up in a rematch of a Division 1 round-robin game with Marlies getting the best of the Titans for the second time in two days this time by a 7-1 score to advance to the OHL Cup final.
The Marlies finished first in the division, and came into semi-final play with a 5-0 record, tied with the most goals scored in the tournament at 23 and owning the tournament’s leading goal scorer in Connor McDavid with 8 goals. The Titans dropped two games during divisional play, however advanced through to the semis with a 3-2 record.
“The first game between us we were missing a few bodies,” said Marlies assistant coach Bruce Robertson. “We didn’t change much going into this game. We just kept to our normal stuff, keeping the puck deep, taking care of our own end and getting guys to the net.”
The game opened with chances coming from both sides, including a big glove save by Marlies’ goaltender Mathew Robson on the Titans’ Francois Lemelin.
Just over six minutes into the period, Toronto took to the power play on a slashing penalty by Ottawa’s Connor Cobbold, and despite several chances, couldn’t put one by Ottawa’s Brayden St-Germain. Toronto then ran into some penalty trouble taking back-to-back penalties in the last five minutes of the first, but were able to kill both off.
The second period started off the same way, with Danylo Znaczko going off 17 seconds into play for a hooking call, though the penalty turned out to be more beneficial for the Marlies as 39 seconds later they broke out 3-on-1 and after some beautiful passes, McDavid tapped it in for a shorthanded goal. The Marlies weren’t done though, notching a second shorty, only 11 seconds later from Joshua Ho-Sang.
“It’s playing with fire to take a lot of penalties, but once we got the lead we were able to change our forecheck,” said Robertson.
Down 2-0, the Titans finally solved St-Germain two minutes later at 3:05 of the period, cutting the lead to one, with a goal by forward Owen McDade.
With just over four minutes to go in the second, Toronto broke out 3-on-1 again with Ho-Sang, Connor Whiteside and Daniel DeSousa, with the rush ending with DeSousa behind the goal line, and banking in a shot off St-Germain to give Toronto a 3-1 lead. Toronto would take 4-1 lead just minutes later when McDavid got a loose puck in front of the net and made a nice deke around St-Germain to tuck in his second goal of the game.
The third period was all Toronto, with the Marlies tacking on three more goals by Connor Graham, Ho-Sang and McDavid. McDavid would finish with a hat trick and the Marlies a 7-1 win, giving them a rematch of the GTHL Finals against the Mississauga Rebels on Sunday in the OHL Cup Final.
“My linemates did good job to set me up tonight,” said McDavid on the hat trick. “I’m nervous, but excited for the final. This is a great opportunity for us to become one of the great minor midget teams. The Rebels are a good team and we play each other a lot, so we’re pretty excited. I think the game style will change a bit in the finals, but we know how to play them and they know how to play us. It will be interesting but I like our chances.”
“They (Rebels) are a very good hockey team and come ready to play,” said Robertson. “We’re going to have to get pucks to the net and get some traffic there to try and get their goalie off his game,” said Robertson.
Marlboros Player of the Game – Connor McDavid (3G)
Titans Player of the Game – Connor Cobbold
Sunday’s Championship Final will feature a rematch of the GTHL Championship Series between the Mississauga Rebels and the Toronto Marlboros at 3:00 pm at Herb Carnegie Arena in North York.
Rogers TV will be broadcasting select games of the 2012 OHL Cup. Please check www.rogerstv.com for your local airtimes.
The 2012 OHL Cup is proudly supported by affiliate sponsor Jack Link’s. Please visit www.jacklinks.com for more information.
For full recaps, stats, standings, and tournament information please visit www.ohlcup.ca.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)