Four-goal first period leads Nationals past Grenadiers in Telus Cup final


Ryan Bonsteel found the back of the net twice as part of a four-goal first period, and Dalton Ewing made 35 saves to help the Toronto Young Nationals hoist the 2015 TELUS Cup with a 6-2 win over the Grenadiers de Châteauguay on Sunday.

The Young Nationals won the first national title in their history, 39 years after they lost to Calgary Spurs in the final of the 1976 Wrigley Cup, their only previous appearance in the gold medal game.

Toronto is also just the second Central Region champion to win the national championship since the tournament went to a six-team format in 1984, joining the 2008 Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves.

Justin Herman added a goal and an assist for Toronto, which also got goals from Lucas Breault, Nolan Regan and James Guest, and two assists apiece from Dean Rayner and Alex Ierullo.

Maxime Comtois and William Poirier scored for Châteauguay, which became the first team since the 1994-95 Red Deer Chiefs to lose in the gold medal game in back-to-back years.

Toronto jumped all over the Grenadiers in the first period, striking for four goals in less than nine minutes.

Bonsteel got the scoring started at 8:19, one-timing a perfect pass from Ierullo past Châteauguay goaltender Kyle Jessiman, and Breault, a Minor Midget call-up who played just seven games with the Young Nationals prior to this week, dangled past a Grenadiers defenceman and roofed a backhand just 31 seconds later.

Regan, whose first goal of the tournament was the game-winner in Saturday’s semifinal win over Regina, got his second in as many games at 13:16, and Bonsteel’s second of the period gave Toronto a commanding four-goal lead after 20 minutes.

The Bonsteel goal chased Kyle Jessiman, the tournament’s top goaltender, who gave up four goals on 11 shots before being replaced by Mikael Recine, who stopped all 15 he faced the rest of the way.

Châteauguay tried to get a comeback started early in the second period; Poirier spun in the slot and beat Ewing on a Grenadiers power play, but that would be the lone goal of the middle frame.

The Quebec Region champions climbed to within one when Comtois scored again – his ninth goal in five games – just 6:24 into the final stanza, but two goals would be as close as the Grenadiers got.

Châteauguay pulled Recine on a late power play for a six-on-four advantage, but Guest and Herman both hit the empty net shorthanded, providing the final margin of victory for the new national champions.

The 2016 TELUS Cup will be held in Quispamsis, N.B., with the NBPEIMMHL’s Saint John Vitos playing host.