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Blues edge Mustangs 1-0 to win Centennial Cup

OAKVILLE, Ont. — The "Redemption Tour" for the Collingwood Blues is complete.

A second-period goal by Jack Silverman was all the offence the Blues needed to post a 1-0 victory over the Melfort Mustangs in Sunday's Centennial Cup championship final.

The Blues, who were knocked out of the quarterfinal at the 2023 Centennial Cup, returned to go undefeated through this year’s tournament. The Blues become the first Ontario Junior Hockey League champion to win Canada’s National Junior A Championship since the Aurora Tigers in 2007.

“I was just trying to stay calm. The goal came halfway through the game and we still had a long way to go,” Silverman said. “We had been playing well and we got the bounce that was coming to us, I was in the right spot and Robbie (Jack Robertson) put a perfect shot right on my stick and I was happy to tip it home.

"The amount of people around the rink cheering us on, it’s really the best feeling in the world to have the best fans in this league.”

Goaltending was the story for the rest of the game as both netminders turned aside every shot that came their way. Noah Pak turned aside all 23 shots he faced on the way to Collingwood’s first national title.

James Venne was also solid in goal for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League's Mustangs as he stopped 35 of 36 shots.

“All the work that everyone puts in — we worked so hard for this. To get it done means the world,” said Blues' head coach Andrew Campoli. "I'll be honest, it hurt losing last time and (coming into this year’s tournament) we had some unfinished business and the job is done.”

The Blues were undefeated through the preliminary round to win Group A with a 4-0 record. The Blues posted wins over the Calgary Canucks (5-4), Greater Sudbury Cubs (10-2), Collège Français de Longueuil (8-0), Navan Grads (3-2) and a 5-2 semifinal win over the Miramichi Timberwolves.

POKE CHECKS: Before the championship game the tournament award winners were revealed. The MVP was Julien Gervais of the Calgary Canucks, the best forward was Dalton Andrew of the Winkler Flyers, best defender was Leith Olafson of the Mustangs, best goaltender was Jaeden Nelson of the Navan Grads, and most sportsmanlike player was Riley Hearn of the Calgary Canucks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 19, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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