The Saint John Sea Dogs are the Canadian Hockey League’s 2022 Memorial Cup champions.
It wasn’t a pretty end to the season, but for the team that fell in the first round and fired its head coach Gordie Dwyer after a surprising early exit, the well-rested host team from Saint John finished the job in the Memorial Cup Final on Wednesday night in front of a jam-packed crowd in its home barn.
Dreams become reality.
— Canadian Hockey League (@CHLHockey) June 30, 2022
Head coach Gardiner MacDougall watched as his team beat up the Ontario Hockey League champion Hamilton Bulldogs 6-3 in what was a dominant effort from start to finish.
“It’s unbelievable,” MacDougall said immediately after the game. “We had the best fans in the country here tonight. It was an unbelievable atmosphere and it just doesn’t get any better. We got the crowd behind us and we just kept getting better as the game went.”
William Dufour collected tournament MVP honours post-game following his seven-goal, eight-point showing in four appearances. Five different players – including Dufour – potted goals for the Sea Dogs, who were actually outshot 28-27 by Hamilton. Netminder Nikolas Hurtubise shut the door in net for Saint John, earning the Most Outstanding Goaltender award in the process.
The Sea Dogs put up two quick goals in the opening six minutes of the first period, before doing it again in the middle stanza, to Hamilton’s two goals, pulling head 4-2 through 40 minutes of play. After a Josh Lawrence power play tally at 6:32 of the third period, Saint John shut it down, while adding an empty-net marker to seal the deal with 1:17 to go.
In taking the Memorial Cup, Wednesday’s championship was the second in Sea Dogs franchise history (2011) after joining the league in 2005. Since 2000, the QMJHL has won eight CHL championships.
The Cup will remain within the ‘Q’ for the third-straight championship as well, as Acadie-Bathurst Titan (2018) and the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (2019) took the last two Memorial Cups. Both the 2020 and 2021 runnings were cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Next year’s event will be hosted in Kamloops, British Columbia from May 25 to June 4. It will be the first time the Memorial Cup will be held in Kamloops since 1995.