SUDBURY, Ont. – The Notre Dame Hounds have won their fifth National Midget Championship, besting the Cantonniers de Magog by a score of 5-1 to win gold at the 2018 TELUS Cup.
The Hounds headed into the first intermission with a one-goal lead over the Cantonniers, who were leading in shots-on-goal 12-5 after 20 minutes. Finding their groove, Notre Dame came on early in the second, taking a 2-0 lead on Luke Mylymok’s first goal of what would become a hat-trick night for the 16-year-old from Wilcox, Sask. After 40 minutes of play, the Hounds were up 4-0.
Jérémy Rainville (Brigham, Que.), team captain for the Cantonniers de Magog and a tournament top-scorer, helped put his team on the board in the opening minutes of the third period with an assist on the goal by Simon Pinard (Drummondville, Que.). Notre Dame shut down Magog’s shot at a comeback, with Mylymok closing the scoring at 17:44 in the third frame.
“You need your best players to step up in the big games, and it’s a little easier on the coaches when you get that kind of separation. What a game by [Luke Mylymok],” said Notre Dame head coach Devan Praught. “All year long, he led the way offensively for us. We had other guys too. But Luke’s just one of those players – it’s a big game and on the biggest stage. What a player. Unbelievable. I mean, [I’m at] a loss for words. What a group of kids. They won. The work they put in to see that come and now the looks on their faces, they’ve earned this.”
Sunday’s victory puts this year’s edition of the Notre Dame Hounds in elite company; no team has gone undefeated in regulation time since the Riverains de Richelieu in 1987. Notre Dame’s 1986 team also accomplished the feat. The Hounds have now won Canada’s National Midget Championship five times (1980, 1986, 2009, 2010, 2018), and earned nine medals – two silver, and two bronze.
A Humboldt Broncos’ Humboldt Strong banner hung in the Hounds’ dressing room all week. The team carried the banner onto the ice as part of their celebration, with the Saskatchewan-based players held it as the team skated up to collect their gold medals.
“You could feel the presence of all of them here with us today, and all of them rooting for us back home,” said Mylymok of the players and families involved in the tragedy last month. “We couldn’t be any more happy to represent the province of Saskatchewan, our school. It’s just an unbelievable feeling to be able to play for those guys.”
For the Cantonniers de Magog head coach, Félix Potvin, the team of 15- and 16-year-olds from Quebec leave Sudbury, Ont., with heads held high.
“I’m so proud of them. We worked hard all year, we climbed up the standings, and we won our league. We came here, they fought and we got to the final,” said Potvin, who is no stranger to short-term competition, having won the 1991 IIHF World Junior Championship on home ice in Saskatoon, Sask., and represented Canada at the 1998 IIHF World Championship. “And I’m really proud of how they played the third period. Even being down four goals, we kept pushing, we kept coming at them, we got one back. We left it all on the ice, and I’m really proud of them.”
Earlier in the day, the Lethbridge Hurricanes earned the bronze medal at the 2018 TELUS Cup, blanking the Toronto Young Nationals 4-0.
Sudbury Minor Hockey wins at 2018 TELUS Cup
Sudbury Minor Hockey earned $5,300 from the BDO Goals For Kids program, which donated $50 per goal scored at the 2018 TELUS Cup to support area kids who want to become or stay involved in the game.
As with all of Hockey Canada’s national championships, the net proceeds from all ticket sales at the event will stay within the Sudbury community to help grow the game locally. Organizers believe that attendance at the 2018 TELUS Cup averaged over 800 spectators per game.
The 2019 TELUS Cup will be hosted in Thunder Bay, Ont.