When the Mississauga Reps started their OHL Cup journey by defeating the Halton Hurricanes in a Wild Card Play In Game, not many would have touted them as a favourite to win the tournament. Now well over a week after their 2017 OHL Cup powered by Under Armour championship victory, three Reps teammates reflect on a tournament they won’t soon forget.
What was your approach going into the Wild Card game versus going into the final?
Jamieson Rees: There wasn’t a difference going into these two games, we had a “win at all cost” approach. For me, the final game was a little more nerve-racking, but I had to push through it and play the best I possibly could.
Ryan Dugas: The approach for with either game was to come out playing as a team and moving the puck and be the team we were for most of the year. We had a few guys step up and address the room before each game to refocus this game plan and one of the guys brought the Miracle speech and we played that before the Wild Card game as well as any other big game we needed to get pumped up for.
Mike Petizian: Our approach going into the Wild Card series was simply desperation hockey. We knew this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to play in the OHL Cup and nothing was going to stop us from getting in. We knew that once we were in, we would be fine because we generally do very well in tournaments.
What were the feelings you had leading up to the final?
Rees: I was bit nervous, excited and anxious. Although I didn’t know what the outcome would be, I had a good feeling it would be a positive one for us. We experienced what losing felt like in the first round of the playoffs and I knew I did not want to experience that again.
Petizian: After that semi-final win against London, I didn’t think too much about the finals right away. I was just trying to enjoy that huge win. When I woke up the next morning, the final was all I could think about. I felt sick to my stomach to be completely honest. Saying I was nervous would be an understatement.
Dugas: I was confident the day before and was getting worked up more and more as the day went on. My dad and I watched Miracle just to get those jittery moments from the movie and prepare myself for that type of situation.
Describe those last few seconds of the final game after Dennis Golovatchev scored with nine seconds remaining.
Rees: After the Nationals tied 2-2 we were upset, but my teammates and I were anxious and determined to get back out there and put a point on the board so the game didn’t go into overtime.
Dugas: When the Nats attacked the net in the last dwindling seconds I just tried to hold my paddle down and hold my ground. Was a little intense when my mask was knocked off from the crashing of the net, but I tried to remain composed.
Petizian: Those last nine seconds after we scored were probably the longest nine seconds of my life. As the clock was running out, I was overcome with joy in a way that was just different. All my worries just disappeared and I was the happiest I’ve ever been.
What’s your main focus now that OHL Cup is over?
Petizian: Now that the OHL Cup is over and the off-season has begun, my main focus is working towards getting bigger, faster and stronger for next season wherever I may be playing. I’m trying not to think too much of the upcoming [OHL] Draft . I can’t control whatever happens on that day.
Rees: I’ll be focusing on off-ice training and getting stronger so that I can have a harder shot, skate faster and be physically ready for the next level of hockey.
Dugas: Getting back with my goalie instructors will be key as that has dropped off since playoffs due to time availability, but I’ll be back on the ice and technically training as hard as I can as well.