For the second time in five years, the Humboldt Broncos have won the National Junior A Championship.
Edward Gale scored the game’s lone goal late in the first period and Taylor Nelson made that goal stand up as the winner with a 30-save shutout performance as the Broncos claimed the 2008 RBC Cup with a 1-0 win over the Camrose Kodiaks on Sunday at the Cornwall Civic Complex.
The win came five years to the day – May 11, 2003 – that the Broncos won their first national championship, beating, ironically, the Camrose Kodiaks, 3-1 in Charlottetown, PEI.
In front of a live national television audience on TSN, both teams came out uneasy, unable to make crisp passes and struggling to generate any offense.
With the Broncos on a powerplay nearing the 17-minute mark of the opening period, Gale stepped out of the corner and snuck a shot past Camrose goaltender Allen York – who was named the tournament’s top goaltender for the second straight year at Friday night’s awards banquet.
The goaltenders took over following Gale’s goal, as York and Nelson combined to turn aside all 38 shots they faced over the final 40 minutes in a classic duel of elite goaltenders.
Nelson saved his best save for last, as he robbed Camrose sniper Joe Colborne on the doorstep with a glove save with just one second remaining on the clock and the Kodiaks enjoying a six-on-four advantage.
Not surprisingly, Nelson was named player of the game for the Broncos, while Camrose defenseman Dean Petiot took home the honour for the Kodiaks.
Humboldt won their third medal in three trips to the National Junior A Championship – in addition to their national title in 2003, they were runners-up in 1987 when they hosted the tournament, falling to the Richmond (BC) Sockeyes in the championship game.
The Kodiaks lost the championship game for the third time in five trips to the tournament – after winning their first, and only, national championship in their first trip, in 2001, the Kodiaks lost to Humboldt in 2003 and Weyburn in 2005 in the final game. Camrose lost a five-overtime semi-final to Prince George at the 2007 RBC Royal Bank Cup, the only time in their five trips that they have failed to advance to the championship game.
Despite the loss, the Kodiaks set a RBC Cup (since 1996) record by allowing just five goals in their six games, breaking the mark of seven set by the 1997 South Surrey Eagles. York finished with a remarkable 0.80 goals against average, not allowing more than one goal in any of his five appearances.