By Brendon Crossman
Photo by Matthew Murnaghan / Hockey Canada Images
The Toronto Young Nationals filled the net four times in the opening frame – including two tallies by Ryan Bonsteel – to cruise to a 6-2 victory over the Grenadiers de Châteauguay and win the 2015 TELUS Cup.
Making their second consecutive trip to the national Midget AAA championship, the Young Nationals won their first title in club history. They lost to the Calgary Spurs in the 1976 Wrigley Cup final, their only other appearance in the gold medal game.
Sunday’s matchup was in complete contrast to the preliminary round meeting between the two clubs, in which Châteauguay scored three times in the opening 12:06 en route to a 4-1 victory.
That was one of three losses suffered by the Young Nationals, who stumbled out of the gate with a 7-2 defeat against the West Region champion Regina Pat Canadians.
Like they did with the Grenadiers in the final, the Young Nationals also avenged their loss to the Pat Canadians by scoring three unanswered goals in the semifinal to clinch a berth in the gold medal game.
Toronto clinched their spot in the TELUS Cup after hosting the Central Region championship earlier this month, where they cruised to a 5-0-0 record. They are just the second Central Region team to win the national championship since the tournament adopted the six-team format in 1984 (also Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves in 2008).
Bonsteel scored six goals in as many games to finish tied for third place in the tournament – three back of Grenadiers forward Maxime Comtois (9-6—15), who tallied two points (1-1—2) in the final. Bonsteel’s eight points were one behind Justin Herman (2-7—9) for the overall team scoring lead.
Dalton Ewing stopped 35 shots in the gold medal game, including all 17 he faced in the first period. He finished the tournament with a 4-2-0 record, 2.81 goals-against average and .900 save percentage in seven appearances.
Lucas Breault and Nolan Regan also scored in the first period, as the Young Nationals exploded for four goals in a span of 8:37. Regan’s tally stood as the game-winner; his only other goal in the tournament was the decisive marker in the semifinal.
James Guest and Herman (1-1—2) each tallied into the empty net to seal the victory. Alex Ierullo and Dean Rayner both notched two assists.
The Young Nationals posted a 2-3-0 record in the preliminary round, defeating the Atlantic Region champion Newbridge Academy Gladiators (5-2 W) and host Albatros du College Notre-Dame (3-2 W), before dropping their final preliminary round game to the Pacific Region champion Strathmore Bisons (5-3 L).
Toronto finished fourth in the country in 2013-14, after falling to the Okanagan Rockets in overtime in the bronze medal game.
The Grenadiers, who represented the Quebec Region, also lost in the gold medal game last year when Prince Albert Mintos forward Dakota Boutin scored in triple-overtime to end the longest game in TELUS Cup history at 108:36.
ICYMI: Watch highlights from the gold medal game on TSN.ca.
TORONTO YOUNG NATIONALS MIDGET AAA ROSTER
Date of Birth
|6||Max Routledge||F||08/05/1997||Scarborough, Ont.|
|8||Ryan Bonsteel||F||07/10/1997||Mississauga, Ont.|
|9||Mack Graham||F||04/24/1997||Etobicoke, Ont.|
|14||Lucas Breault||F||05/20/1999||Woodbridge, Ont.|
|16||Erik Larsen||F||03/05/1997||Woodbridge, Ont.|
|17||Dean Rayner||F||02/12/1998||Markham, Ont.|
|20||Nolan Regan||F||09/09/1997||Markham, Ont.|
|21||Justin Herman||F||03/06/1997||Richmond Hill, Ont.|
|91||Jake Joffe||F||04/30/1998||Toronto, Ont.|
|92||Nate Mueller||F||08/30/1999||Toronto, Ont.|
|97||Alex Ierullo||F||05/30/1997||Woodbridge, Ont.|
|7||James Guest||D||07/11/1997||Etobicoke, Ont.|
|14||Andrew Breda||D||10/12/1997||Maple, Ont.|
|19||Jordan Sambrook||D||04/11/1998||Markham, Ont.|
|24||Bryce Patterson||D||03/24/1997||Oshawa, Ont.|
|26||Justin Mahabir||D||03/15/1998||Pickering, Ont.|
|27||Matt Pyz||D||06/22/1998||Mississauga, Ont.|
|51||Nik Kalpouzos||D||05/18/1997||Toronto, Ont.|
|1||Eric Jackson||G||02/26/1998||Toronto, Ont.|
|39||Dalton Ewing||G||12/29/1997||Mississauga, Ont.|
|Head Coach||Brett Punchard|
|Assistant Coach||Aaron Darmanin|
|Assistant Coach||Rory Hunt|
|Team Manager||Irene Herman|