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The Shawinigan Cataractes were a disappointed group Wednesday after falling to their QMJHL rivals from Saint John. But they played a big bounce back game Thursday....
Shawinigan struck early and often en route to a 6-1 win over the WHL Champion Edmonton Oil Kings at the MasterCard Memorial Cup tiebreaker game. The Cataractes advance to play Saint John in the semi-final Friday. The host club had goals from six different scorers, while defenceman Brandon Gormley had two assists and was a plus-4.
"I thought we played a good game, a very solid hockey game right from the start," said Gormley. "We wanted to get off to a good start and I think we did a good job."
Yannick Veilleux opened the scoring at 7:30 of the first period before Morgan Ellis sent the Cataractes to the dressing room with a two-goal lead with a powerplay goal. There was not a second period letdown with four more goals in the middle frame.
"It's one thing to jump out to the early lead, but it's another thing to play well with it," added Gormley. "I thought we did a great job coming out for the second period, keep going and that's part of having success. You're going to have to learn how to play with the lead and it was a good experience for us tonight."
Anton Zlobin, Kirill Kabanov, Michael Bournival and Pierre-Olivier Morin rounded out the Shawinigan scoring. Henrik Samuelsson scored the lone goal for Edmonton.
"It was just a bit of everything. I think we were all emotionally invested in the WHL championship, we didn't regroup," said Oil Kings defenceman Griffin Reinhard. "It was our first experience for everybody. Experience is definitely a big factor, other teams have shown that they've been here before. I think we'll be ready now. The guys have had a lot of fun together and we'll be ready for next year if we make it."
Shawinigan lost 4-1 to Saint John Wednesday in the round robin finale, now it's one final battle to decide who will play the OHL Champion London Knights in Sunday's championship game. Cataractes coach Eric Veilleux says his team will begin focusing on Saint John within 30 minutes of the final horn against Edmonton.
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