Wildcats clinch QMJHL title, spot at Memorial Cup



MONCTON, N.B. — The Moncton Wildcats captured their second President’s Cup in five years Monday night, beating the Saint John Sea Dogs 7-4 to clinch the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League title.

Marek Hrivik, Brannon Scott and Kelsey Tessier each potted a pair of goals as the Wildcats earned the final berth in the Memorial Cup, which begins Friday in Brandon, Man.

Stephen MacAulay opened the scoring one minute into the game for the Sea Dogs, who were trying to force a seventh game in the best-of-seven series, but it was all Wildcats after that.

Six straight goals — two in the first and four in the second — by the home team gave Moncton all the goals it needed to clinch the series in six games.

Randy Cameron evened the score and Brannon gave the Wildcats the lead before the first period was over. Hrivik and Tessier each scored twice in the second.

Saint John, the top team in the regular season, scored three straight goals to open the third, but it wasn’t enough. Michael Kirkpatrick tallied twice and set up Yann Sauve’s goal in the comeback attempt.

Brannon sealed the win with an empty-net goal.

Nicola Ripoel made 27 saves to record the win in net, while Marco Cousineau blocked 36 shots for Saint John.

The Wildcats came second in their only other trip to the Memorial Cup, as host and QMJHL champions in 2006, losing to the Quebec Remparts in the final. This year they’ll open the tournament against the Western Hockey League champion Calgary Hitmen on Saturday.

The defending Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires are representing the Ontario Hockey League and the host Brandon Wheat Kings round out the field.

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