PRINCE GEORGE, B.C.: The West is the best.
A wrist shot from Upper Pomquet’s Logan Chisholm secured the 2017 TELUS Cup National Midget Championship for the Cape Breton West Islanders. The overtime marker from Chisholm secured the come-from-behind win for the Islanders, who trailed 4-2 after the first period.
“I was just thinking ‘try to put a shot on net, try to get something to go in,’” said Chisholm of the biggest goal of his career.
“It was a pretty crazy feeling [scoring the goal]. My mind kind of went blank. It was pretty crazy.”
The Islanders traded early goals with the Blizzard du Séminaire Saint-François, with Jacob Hudson, from Chisholm, and Stephen Fox, from Dylan MacDonald and Craig Ryan, keeping the teams even before the Blizzard popped two more by the end of the first period.
A scoreless second period set up a dramatic third, with Fox, from Callum MacPherson and Ryan MacLellan, bringing the Islanders within one at 4:38. Chisholm’s first goal of the night, from Hudson and Malcolm MacEachern, tied the game with 5:51 to play.
“Our team, all year, we had no quit and it shows how much character we have in the dressing room and we proved it by coming out and getting the job done,” said Chisholm, who praised the rest of the team and the coaching staff for all of the work everyone put in to bringing home a national title, a first for any team from the Atlantic provinces.
The national crown even eluded Sidney Crosby’s Dartmouth Subways in 2002.
Islanders’ goalie Colten Ellis, from River Denys, made 43 saves in the championship game, as the Islanders were outshot 47-28 in the final. Hudson, a Pleasant Valley native and captain of the national champions, was named MVP of the tournament.
“All the work we did all year, it finally paid off,” said Hudson.
“It was a hell of an experience and a hell of a feeling. To be able to grab that national trophy, raise it over my head, and skate over to the boys, it was a hell of a feeling. It was an experience I will never forget.”
Hudson thanked his family and the Strait area for their support to the team.
“It’s been an amazing journey and I’m super proud of our boys,” he said.
Cape Breton head coach Kyle MacDonald said he could not be more proud of the team and the way they conducted themselves.
“They’re such a respectful and high-character group and it is just such a privilege to be able to work with them,” said coach MacDonald.
During the second intermission, MacDonald said there were some long faces but no one was willing to give up.
“I told them we should be thankful to be a part of this and be a part of this game,” he said.
“They had so much support from home and everyone was watching. At the very least, we were going to go out and give it our best in the third period. With Colten Ellis in net, he gave us a chance to win and it was a remarkable finish.
“We have such remarkable leadership in the room, they were able to respond and they managed their emotions really well,” said MacDonald. “I think that’s what makes us such a great team.”
The Islanders went 4-3 at the national tournament, earning two wins and three losses in the preliminary round. During the semi-finals, the Islanders came from behind to beat the top-ranked Mississauga Rebels 2-1.
Coming from behind, MacEachern, from MacLellan and Hudson, tied the game in the second while a power play marker from Jacob Stewart, from Logan Timmons, put the local boys in the final.
Defenseman and Sherbrooke native Dylan MacDonald was also named the National Esso Scholarship winner during the tournament’s awards banquet.