Saginaw Spirit Win First Ever Memorial Cup!

Victory Parade Set for Monday June 3rd

    icon Jun 03, 2024
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The Saginaw Spirit became Canadian Hockey League champions last night with a 4-3 win over the London Knights. The win marks the first time an American OHL host team has ever clinched the title. The last time an American CHL team won the Cup was when the Portland Winterhawks won 41-years ago back  in 1983.

As hosts, it was the first time in the Spirit’s 22-year franchise history that the team was able to compete in the 10-day hockey tournament, known to be one of the hardest titles to win in the sport.

The Spirit won May 24 against the Moose Jaw Warriors, who represented the Western Hockey League, beating them 5-4. The team then went on to win 4-3 against the Drummondville Voltigeurs, winners of the Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League championship, on May 26. But a 4-2 loss on May 29 against the London Knights meant the Spirit would have to successfully outscore the Warriors in the semi-finals on Friday. The Spirit punched their ticket to the finals beating Moose Jaw 7-1 on Friday. 

A victory parade to honor the Saginaw Spirit as the 2024 Memorial Cup Champions is set for noon Monday (June 3) and will run along Washington Avenue (beginning at Commerce Tower) and continue down Johnson Street, ending in front of the Jolt Event Park.

There will be music, local leaders, mascots Sammy and Bert, Spirit staff, coaches and, of course, the Saginaw Spirit hockey team. All are welcome to join in marking this momentous achievement! 

The Saginaw Spirit defeated the London Knights, 4-3 at the Dow Event Center, Sunday June 2nd to win the prestigious 2024 Memorial Cup presented by DowOwen Beck scored twice to earn Tournament MVP, Josh Bloom collected three points (1G, 2A), and Joey Willis gathered one goal and one assist.  Michael Simpson started for London stopping 27 of 31 shots and Andrew Oke stopped 10 of 13 in his first championship win.

Saginaw opened the scoring halfway through the first following a faceoff in the London zone.  Off the faceoff draw Josh Bloom tipped the puck out to Owen Beck who fanned on the initial shot then shoveled the puck on net.  Goaltender Michael Simpson never saw the shot until it was already over his shoulder and in the net for Beck’s third of the Memorial Cup and giving Saginaw a 1-0 lead.

At 18:58 into the first, London’s Landon Sim received a five minute major for elbowing and a game misconduct, giving Saginaw a five minute power play toward the end of the first.

On the powerplay, Joey Willis received a pass along the side boards moving the puck behind the net for Josh Bloom.  The Vancouver prospect skated behind the net and passed up top to an incoming Owen Beck.  The Saginaw center stepped into this shot sending a shot past Simpson for Beck’s second goal of the period and setting up the Spirit with a two-goal lead.

AFTER 1: LDN 0 – 2 SAG (Total Shots: 1 – 13)

At 7:47 of the second period, London attempted to move the puck back off the ice and missed a pass in the neutral zone.  Joey Willis intercepted the pass above the London blueline and race into the open zone.  A quick backhand move opened the shot for Willis who buried the backhand shot above the glove of Simpson for his second of the Memorial Cup and giving the Spirit a 3-0 lead.

1:58 later, Oliver Bonk played the puck up to Easton Cowan who looked to dump in the puck.  Cowan chipped the puck off the glass after taking the hit by Rodwin Dionicio Kasper Halttunen picked up the loose puck, drifted into the left circle, then ripped a shot over the blocker of goaltender Andrew Oke for his fourth goal of the tournament and getting the Knights back to within two.

AFTER 2: LDN 1 – 3 SAG (2nd Period Shots: 5 – 11,Total Shots: 6 – 24)

London inched closer with a goal at 7:48 into the third period.  Oliver Bonk made a play over to Sam Dickinson who raced past the Saginaw defense.  The defenseman threw the puck through the crease finding the stick of Easton Cowan.  The London winger took the pass, placed his shot, and slid the puck home for his third of the Memorial Cup and setting a 3-2 scoreline.

Less than three minutes later, Saginaw lost the puck high in the London zone where Max McCue picked up the puck and began flying down the ice.  As he crossed the Saginaw blueline, McCue was flanked by Sam Dickinson.  The defensemen received the pass from McCue then buried the shot through Andrew Oke for his second of the tournament to tie the game at three.

In a mad scramble at the end of regulation, Spirit defenseman Jorian Donovan cut to the slot and fired a shot to the net. Spirit OA Josh Bloom jammed the puck home with 21.7 seconds left in regulation to give the Spirit a 4-3 lead.

Saginaw held on, securing their first Memorial Cup in franchise history, and becoming just the third American team to win junior hockey’s most coveted prize.

FINAL: LDN 3 – 4 SAG (3rd Period Shots: 8 – 7,Total Shots: 13 – 31)

Michael Simpson started for the Knights stopping 27 of 31

Andrew Oke started for the Spirit stopping 10 of 13

Powerplay: LDN 0/0 – SAG 1/3

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