Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Knights outwork talented Sea Dogs

Saint John thwarted by London crew

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SHAWINIGAN, Que. -- It was a classic case of hard work beating talent as the London Knights came out on top Saturday.

Vladislav Namestnikov scored twice and Austin Watson had a goal and two assists as the Knights outhustled and upset the defending champion Saint John Sea Dogs 5-3 at the MasterCard Memorial Cup.

The No. 1-ranked Sea Dogs were a perfect 4-0 while winning last year's Memorial Cup in Mississauga, Ont., but their star forwards were thwarted by London's team defence and they needed two short-handed goals just to stay in the game against the Ontario Hockey League champions.

"We've been battling all year to outwork teams and beat teams," said Watson. "Play a tight defence and capitalize on our chances.

"They definitely didn't take us lightly. They came out flying. It was a good battle. They're a great hockey team and we'll have to battle if we see them again."

London is in action again tonight against the host Shawinigan Cataractes (0-1), while the Sea Dogs play their second game on Monday night against the Western Hockey League champion Edmonton Oil Kings (1-0).

Watson's goal at 10:49 of the third period turned out to be the winner as the Knights held off the Sea Dogs' vaunted attack.

Down 4-3 in the third, Saint John mounted some late pressure, but any chance of tying the game and forcing overtime disappeared when star forward Jonathan Huberdeau over-reacted to a poke from pesky Ryan Rupert and got a four-minute roughing call with 2:04 left to play.

Coach Gerard Gallant went ballistic on the bench and got a bench minor, giving London a two-man advantage they used to put the game away on Namestnikov's second of the game.

Gallant later said his team has been a target as it dominated the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League the last three seasons.

"I've been complaining for three years that we always get the short end of the stick and I'm tired of it," he said.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 20, 2012 B4

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