THUNDER BAY – Justin Robidas was named the TELUS Cup’s most valuable player for good reason.
He lived up to the honour again on Saturday night.
Robidas, the son of former NHLer Stephane Robidas and a potential No. 1 pick in the upcoming Quebec Major junior Hockey League draft, scored once and added a pair of assists, powering the Magog Cantonniers to a 4-2 semifinal win over a Tisdale Trojans squad that gave his team its toughest test of the week to date.
Tristan Roy was equally as key, scoring with 5.3 seconds left in the middle stanza to break a tight 2-2 tie, then added his second of the night 2:59 into the third, freezing Tisdale goalie Tanner Martin with a high backhand from just outside the Trojans crease.
The win sends Magog, last year’s silver medalists, to Sunday’s championship game against the Toronto Young Nationals, who advanced earlier in the day with a 4-2 win over the Calgary Buffaloes. Tisdale will have to settle for a shot at bronze, taking on Calgary in a matinee tilt.
“We’re just happy to get the win and hopefully we can get the gold tomorrow,” said Robidas, the second leading scorer on the Cantonniers this season with 55 points in 35 games.
“It’s incredible. This year we’ve had the chance to win in Quebec and now we have the chance to win in Canada. So we’ll just have fun. I think that’s the most important part, work hard and try to win it.”
Roy was almost an unlikely hero. His 11 goals in 42 games placed him sixth on the team in scoring, but he’s been playing fantastic this week, said coach Felix Potvin.
“That’s the kind of team we are. We’ve got guys that can step up and can step in and do the job. And tonight it happened to be Tristan who played a great game – but he’s been playing well throughout the playoffs for us, so it’s no surprise.”
The 16-year-old, who hails from St-Cyrille-de-Wendover, Que., was overjoyed to get the winner and insurance goals.
“It’s fun to contribute to the victory. The boys worked hard all the game and it’s just fun that I scored,” Roy said.
Now he’s got one thing on his mind.
“The goal is to win the final. We are happy to (get to) the final, but we want to win, so we’re going to do everything possible to win,” Roy said.
Quebec has won medals in 21 of the past 22 championships, and is guaranteed no worse than silver in 2019, but it’s been 18 years since a Quebec team hoisted the TELUS Cup and 19 since Magog's one and only title.
Potvin said despite the 6-0-0 record, his team isn’t taking anything for granted. It’s a lesson they learned in Saturday’s semifinal.
Down 2-0 after one, still smarting after a 6-0 loss to Magog in the round robin portion of the six-team tournament, the Trojans caught up midway through the second.
Trenton Curtis beat tournament top goaltender Olivier Adam short-side 53 seconds into middle stanza and Cade Hayes evened the score at the 11:33 mark, turning a potential rout into a battle.
But Roy’s late goal deflated any momentum the Trojans had gained in the period and his second of the night put the game out of reach.
“They gave us a lot of trouble and we had to dig down really deep,” Potvin said.
Tisdale coach Darrell Mann pulled Martin with 4:22 to go in the third, but the Trojans were unable to solve Olivier Adam, the tournament’s top goalie.
The gold medal game, which will be broadcast on TSN, is set for 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Scoring: 1. Magog, Robidas 5 (Dion, Doucet) 8:04 pp. 2. Magog, Michaud (Robidas, Lapointe) 12:15. Penalties: Kosior TIS (cross checking) 7:47, Michaud MAG (tripping) 17:38.
Scoring: 3. Tisdale Curtis 3 (Vranai) 0:53. 4. Tisdale, Hayes 1 (Ukrainetz, Curtis) 11.33. 5. Magog, Roy (Robidas, Doucet) 19:54. Penalties: None.
Scoring: 6. Magog, Roy (Barabe, Picard) 2:59. Penalties: Picard MAG (slashing) 10:45, Ashe TIS (hit to head) 13:29.
GAME DATA – SOG – Tisdale 10-12-6-28, Magog 13-11-8-32; Power plays (goals-chances) – Tisdale (0-2), Magog (1-2); Goaltenders – Tisdale: Tanner Martin, Magog: Olivier Adam.