SUDBURY, Ont. – Luke Mylymok scored his second goal of the game with 2:33 left, finishing off a late comeback and giving the Notre Dame Hounds a place in the TELUS Cup gold medal game with a 3-2 semifinal win over the Toronto Young Nationals on Saturday afternoon.
The Hounds, who remain perfect though six games, will face either the Lethbridge Hurricanes or Cantonniers de Magog in the national final on Sunday night (7 p.m. ET, TSN 2).
With overtime looming, Mylymok picked up the puck off the face-off and sniped a quick shot over the glove of Toronto goaltender Sean Wu to put Notre Dame back in the final for the first time since it won its fourth and most recent title in 2010.
Drew Englot had tied the game for the Hounds four minutes earlier, redirecting a Zach Plucinski point shot past Wu.
Notre Dame dominated the first period, outshooting Notre Dame 14-3 and scoring the lone goal; Mylymok netted his fifth goal of the tournament – and fourth in three games – by sneaking a short-side shot past the glove of Wu.
The Young Nationals answered back less than five minutes into the second when Harrison Caines buried his own rebound past Hounds netminder Riley Kohonick, highlighting a period in which Toronto held a narrow 9-8 edge in shots.
Evan Pringle gave the Young Nationals their first lead at 5:02 of the third period when a loose puck in the crease banked off his skate and behind Kohonick for the 2-1 goal.
But the Hounds showed why they have been the best team all week, and are one win away from becoming the first team since the 1987 Riverains du Richelieu to win all seven games at Canada’s National Midget Championship in regulation time.
“We talked early about the highs and lows of a tournament like this. But just the character of this group, the focus to stay with it, to stick with the plan, stay positive on the bench – obviously, [I’m] overjoyed with the result. I mean I don’t have a FitBit, but I’m sure it’d be vibrating or whatever they do. My heartbeat was through the roof. I’m proud of the group. Luke [Mylymok] is one of those guys who found the back of the net for us. He’s a goal-scorer; he’s done it all year long. Those guys step up in key moments. And today he did that for us. It was great to see.”
Devan Praught, head coach of the Notre Dame Hounds, on how the team reacted to what was arguably its closest game of 2018 TELUS Cup, and his feelings on the bench as the go-ahead goal was scored
“The first 20 [minutes] was really good, but I thought we kind of got away from what was really working for us in the second [period], and in the third, we really got back to it. It worked out for us in the end.
“It was just a good face-off win by [Nolan] Renwick; I just got it and shot it and it went in.”
Notre Dame Hounds’ Luke Mylymok whose goals in the first and third bookended the scoring for the team from Saskatchewan
“Our guys played their hearts out. Attention to detail was there. We did what we wanted to do, and we had the lead, and two good shots beat us. I thought our goalie played great too. That’s what happens in these games. The margin of error is so close. We made a couple errors, and that’s the way it goes.
“You play sports, you play to win the game, right? I’m a PhysEd teacher – as soon as you lose, you’ve gotta go and win the next game. No one’s going to feel sorry for us. Tomorrow’s another day, and hopefully we can regroup and win that game.”
Brett Punchard, head coach of the Toronto Young Nationals, on his team’s performance in nearly toppling the Notre Dame Hounds’ perfect record at this year’s tournament, and the approach for Sunday’s bronze-medal game
“Our goal was to make it to the final, and we accomplished it. It was a great game – both teams played well. We knew we were facing a really good team. Our players responded well, showed they have character, something they’ve demonstrated all season long. I think we played smarter, we played better [than in past games]. We created opportunities. We didn’t have turnovers at the blue line, and they guys gave it their all. But I was never worried – I knew they’d show up, they have all year. We have real character players.”
Félix Potvin, head coach of the Cantonniers de Magog, on his team’s performance in the semifinal
“It’s incredible. This is one of the biggest days of my life. I was screaming so hard I lost my voice. I was at the blue line and picked up the puck which was just in front of me. I just wanted to get it on net – I was hoping it would go in, and I saw the call that it went in. I was so happy. It’s an incredible feeling. We have a lot of confidence [heading into the game against Notre Dame]. We’ll be ready, and I think we’ll perform really well.”
Isaac Belliveau of the Cantonniers de Magog, describes the game-winning-goal and how it felt to contribute to it; his shot from the blue line deflected off of teammate Jérémy Lapointe’s elbow to beat Hurricanes netminder, Carl Tetachuk
“Obviously it’s not a good [feeling] right now. We came to win. We’re proud to be here. We knew that coming into a competition like this there’d be lots of good teams here. [You had] two good teams that played well tonight, and it came down to a bounce. Obviously the bounce didn’t go our way, so we’re going to have to rebound and get ready to play Toronto tomorrow. Tournament’s not over. We have an opportunity to go home with a medal. That’s what we’re going to refocus on and get our energy on. It’s always been a resilient group, all year long. They’ll bounce back and we’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”
Lethbridge Hurricanes head coach, Michael Dyck, on the team’s reaction to the OT loss and the process for preparing for a bronze-medal match-up against the Toronto Young Nationals
Toronto will take on the loser of the Lethbridge-Magog semifinal for bronze on Sunday (2 p.m. ET).