For fans that attended the opening game of the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup at the Hershey Center, or watched it on TV, they were treated to a fun and entertaining game that had everything the pre-game reports said that it would.
The game had plenty of speed as the coaches decided to go top line vs top line - Mississauga's experience vs St John's "kids", some pretty goals, solid goaltending and some solid highlight reel body checking when it did occur.
Tomas Jurco opened the scoring when he one handed the puck passed the Major's defender at the blue line and went in alone on JP Anderson and went backhand to beat him on the stick side to put the Sea Dogs up 1-0.
Casey Cizikas would tie it at one when he pounced all over a Stuart Percy rebound to beat Jacob DeSerres. Devante Smith-Pelly would tip in a Percy point shot on the power play to put the Majors up for the first time 2-1. The Sea Dogs would then tie the game when a Michael Kirkpatrick shot went off the seat of Jonathan Huberdeau to close out the first period scoring.
In the second, Huberdeau would send a pass in front to Kirkpatrick and the Sea Dogs would retake the lead. Huberdeau however, would not be credited with an assist as the official scorer felt that the Majors had control of the puck.
A rather strange play late in the period had everyone scratching their heads. I delayed penalty call was signaled as the referee had his arm raised. With the Sea Dogs in control of the puck for several seconds, DeSerres raced to the bench for the extra attacker. The Majors took control of the puck and headed towards the empty net and then the whistle finally went. The problem: the delayed penalty was against the Ice Dogs.
In the third, Nathan Beaulieu would put the Sea Dogs ahead 4-2 on a pretty passing play with Kirkpatrick and Huberdeau. However, Majors coach Dave Cameron would complain that the play was offside but to no avail. A replay would later show that the play was indeed offside only a couple of feet from the linesman, who wasn't standing on the line.
Cizikas would score his second of the game just moments later to pull the Majors within one and although they had opportunities and a couple of goal posts, they could not pull even.