In an unlikely tournament run, the Saint John Sea Dogs have earned a spot in the Memorial Cup final, effectively putting doubters on notice.
After being ousted in the first round of the QMJHL Playoffs, questions were raised about the team’s chances in the 2022 Memorial Cup.
However, the Sea Dogs excelled in round-robin play to earn a bye to the finals. Despite their recent success, players continue to embrace the underdog title.
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“I don’t think we have any pressure. We’re underdogs, we’re going to still be probably underdogs in the final, so we have no pressures for that. We just can’t wait to play,” Sea Dogs forward William Dufour told Global News on Monday.
The 20-year-old notched four goals in the team’s Saturday afternoon matchup that saw the Sea Dogs erase a three-goal deficit to defeat the Shawinigan Cataractes.
According to Saint John Sea Dogs president Trevor Georgie, the thrilling comeback win will likely be remembered by Saint Johners for years.
“They’ve competed, and I mean the game the other night I think for the fans, and everyone in attendance will go down as one we’ll remember for a very long time,” Georgie said.
Georgie, the architect of the Sea Dogs squad, recognized front office work is a thankless job without another banner in the rafters.
However, win or lose, the Mississauga, Ont. native said that given the impact the tournament has had on the city, it will go down in history as a success.
“We’re having trouble keeping any Sea Dogs merch stocked. The city’s abuzz, a lot of these businesses have had a tough go with the pandemic and seeing how much business has been brought in for this, we’re really, really proud,” Georgie noted.
Who the Sea Dogs will play in the finals remains unknown, and is set to be determined by the game between Shawinigan and the Hamilton Bulldogs.
It’s believed tickets to the Wednesday night game at TD Station are already sold out.
A win would make the Sea Dogs the first host team since 2017 to win the Cup and would add a second Memorial Cup championship banner to the organization’s rafters.
While they’ve proven they deserve a spot in the finals, Dufour, the 2021-22 QMJHL MVP, knows they will still be looked upon as underdogs — and he’s fine with that.
“I’m pretty sure that everybody’s going to say the other team (is the favourite), but I mean it’s one game, we’re going to give everything to bring the cup home for sure.”