May 28, 2011
Memorial cup final: Head-to-head
Ryan Pyette, QMI Agency
A look at five matchups heading into Sunday night’s Memorial Cup final between the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors and the Saint John Sea Dogs.
1. Coaching. Dave Cameron (Mississauga) vs. Gerard Gallant (Saint John).
The two bench bosses from Prince Edward Island grew up 20 minutes apart and played men’s fast-pitch together. Cameron will try to end a disappointing string of runner-up finishes (world juniors in Buffalo, OHL final Game 7 overtime loss to Owen Sound). Gallant, the former Columbus Blue Jackets coach, is at the helm of a young Sea Dogs team that repeat next year if NHL teams return most of their core players.
2. Goaltending. J.P. Anderson (Mississauga) vs. Jacob DeSerres (Saint John).
Anderson has been solid but his Saint John counterpart has been waiting a year for this moment. DeSerres, the former Brandon Wheat Kings netminder, gave up nine goals in the 2010 Memorial Cup final against the Windsor Spitfires, whose roster included current Majors Justin Shugg and Marc Cantin.
3. Clash of styles. The Sea Dogs have five potential first round NHL picks and favour an offensive attacking flow to the game. The Majors are a hit-first, high-intensity club that aims to get the puck as deep as possible into the offensive zone. “There were a lot of penalties in the first game,” Saint John coach Gerard Gallant said. “It was nice to see that Boston-Tampa (Game 7). They let them play and hopefully, our game will be that way, but I know it won’t be 1-0 (score).”
4. Imports. Max Kitsyn (Miss) vs. Tomas Jurco/Stanislav Galiev (Saint John).
The Russian Kitsyn has a shot at one of hockey’s great achievements — world junior gold and Memorial Cup title in the same season. The tricky Jurco has scored four goals in three Cup games and he and Galiev have combined for eight points. Kitsyn has a goal and assist and is plus-3.
5. Home vs. Road.
The Majors know every nook and cranny of this ice surface and that’s an advantage. But the Sea Dogs have an incredible 12-1 record on the road in their playoffs and Cup run. There’s been a vocal group of pro-Ontario supporters who believe Saint John foiled an all-OHL semifinal by resting four top players in a loss to Kootenay so the Sea Dogs should expect quite a few boos.