May 15, 2011
A Majors letdown for Mississauga
By Roger Lajoie
If the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors are going to hang a championship banner up next fall, it’s going to have to be the one they give to the Memorial Cup champions.
The banner they give to the Ontario Hockey League champions is going to Owen Sound.
Jarrod Maidens scored the game-winning goal at 3:27 of overtime on Sunday to give the Owen Sound Attack a heart-stopping 3-2 win over the Majors in Game 7 of the OHL championship series, giving the Attack its first J. Ross Robertson Trophy.
Before a sold out crowd of 5,517 fans at the Hershey Centre — thousands of them making the trek from Owen Sound — Maidens, a rookie, slid a shot from a scrum in front of the Majors goal past netminder JP Anderson to touch off a wild celebration.
“This is the best feeling, I’m loving it,” Maidens said. “I was just at the right place at the right time.
“I just watched it go in and it was such a great feeling.”
It was a horrendous feeling for the Majors, who finished first overall in the OHL’s regular season, and held a two-game lead in this final, only to come up one goal short of a league title heading into the Memorial Cup, which they will host.
“This one hurts,” a dejected Majors captain Casey Cizikas said. “It’s definitely tough to lose a game like that.
“I’m not thinking about the Memorial Cup now. We just have to try and get over this and get back on the ice and get ready for that.”
Owen Sound coach Mark Reeds celebrated with his players on the ice, with the thunderous cheers of the Owen Sound fans on hand ringing in their ears.
“It’s unbelievable, such a great feeling for the city of Owen Sound, the players and the entire organization,” Reeds said. “We’re obviously very excited. We will enjoy this for a day or two and then move quickly to get ready for the Memorial Cup.”
The rabid Attack supporters had something to cheer about early when Mike Halmo opened the scoring at 4:14.
Stuart Percy then tied the game for the Majors at 7:26, beating Attack goalie Jordan Binnington, before Maidens gave Owen Sound the lead five minutes later.
Mississauga took advantage of the lone power play of the opening period when Jordan Mayer scored at 14:48, leaving the teams tied 2-2 after one.
It remained that way until overtime and the end came quickly, the Attack swarming the net and scoring the kind of goal that usually wins games in overtime, according to Mississauga general manager/coach Dave Cameron.
“It was a scramble in front and we just got out-muscled,” Cameron said. “It just comes down to execution and they scored the last goal. It’s that simple.”
Owen Sound’s Robby Mignardi was named the winner of the Wayne Gretzky No. 99 Trophy as playoff MVP after leading all post-season scorers with 24 points.
The Memorial Cup opens Friday night at the Hershey Centre when the Majors face the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champions.
The Attack’s first game is Saturday against WHL champion Kootenay, with Mississauga and Owen Sound meeting in the round-robin on Wednesday, May 25.