Despite coming into the final game having played almost two extra ‘games’ at the 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup, the Edmonton Oil Kings found something extra in its reserves in defeating the Guelph Storm, 6-3.
Leading the charge was Henrik Samuelsson, who had two goals and three assists. His offensive explosion allowed Samuelsson to lead all scorers at this Memorial Cup with eight points in five games, one more point than teammate and tournament MVP Edgars Kulda and the Storm's Kerby Rychel.
“I just wanted to win," said Samuelsson of his timely, multi-point performance. "I didn’t care if I had a point or not. I know that if I produce that we’re going to have a better chance of winning than if I don’t, but I didn’t put any extra pressure on me, but I was sure as hell going to go out there and give it my all."
The Oil Kings played in the longest game in Memorial Cup history, defeating the Val d’Or Foreurs in triple overtime in the semi-final match. Earlier in the tournament, the Oil Kings lost to Val d’Or in double-overtime. So the Storm had the advantage of coming into the championship game rested.
“We just knew that if we were going to win, we’d have to come out and give it our all,” Samuelsson said. “I don’t think anyone’s going to have regrets over the next few weeks if they’re a little tired from giving our all. I think we’d have more regrets if we didn’t give it our all and we lost.
“You just find a way and you play your heart out.”
The game started out with Guelph potting a quick goal, just one minute into the first. For five minutes, it looked like the Storm would roll to a victory. But Edmonton fought back, with netminder Tristan Jarry making 32 saves over the course of the game.
“We can’t let this take away from what we did all year,” said Guelph’s Brock McGinn. “We had a great year but it all comes down to one game at the end.
“It’s definitely a tough pill to swallow but we can’t let that crush what we did all year.”
So how does it feel to be Memorial Cup Champions?
“Good, incredible? There are just no words,” Jarry said.
The goaltender credited the training staff and management for helping the team deal with the rigors of the tournament. And it took motivation from people expecting that a Guelph victory was a foregone conclusion.
“I think we were underdogs throughout the whole series,” Jarry said. “Even in Portland they said we were the underdogs. We’ve always been able to work from that.”
Jarry broke away and embraced his father for a good five minutes, returning to the interview with tears streaming down his face. It was the memory of his grandfather that impacted him so strongly.
“I think this is just such a huge thing. This is one of the hardest trophies to win in all of hockey,” he said. “We were just talking about that and how my poppa passed away a couple of years ago — I have him on the back of my helmet and I’m always playing for him.”
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