Last-second goal lifts Saginaw to Memorial Cup championship with 4-3 win over London

Josh Bloom scored the game-winning goal with 21.7 seconds left to lift the host Saginaw Spirit to their first Memorial Cup with a 4-3 victory over the London Knights on Sunday.

Bloom tucked in a rebound after a scramble ensued in front of the net from a Jorian Donovan point shot and the home crowd erupted.

Saginaw becomes the eighth first-time participant to win the Memorial Cup since 1972 and the first since 2011. In addition, the Spirit became the third host team in the last six tournaments to win the title.

It’s also the fifth time an American CHL team has won the Memorial Cup in its 104-year history. The Portland Winterhawks (1983, 1988) and the Spokane Chiefs (1991, 2008) were the others.

Owen Beck, with two goals, and Joey Willis also scored for host Saginaw. Andrew Oke stopped 10 shots.

London Knights’ Easton Cowan (7) is knocked off his feet by Saginaw Spirit’s Owen Beck (62) during the Memorial Cup final on Sunday. (Duane Burleson/Canadian Press)

Kasper Halttunen, Easton Cowan, Sam Dickinson replied for London. Michael Simpson made 27 saves.

Beck opened the scoring at 9:07 of the first period, to a thunderous ovation from the home crowd. Beck won the faceoff at the left circle but a scramble for the puck ensued, and he got the loose puck and fired it past Simpson glove side with nobody else aware of where the puck was.

London forward Landon Sim was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for an elbow to Zayne Parekh’s face that left the star Spirit defenceman down on the ice for a couple minutes before getting up under his own power.

Beck added his second of the game on the power play with 44.3 seconds left in the first. He fired in a one-timer from the right faceoff circle on a feed from Bloom 18 seconds into the man advantage.

Willis made it a 3-0 game at 7:47 of the second period. He got a loose puck at centre ice, drove right down the middle of London’s zone with a defender off to each side of him and beat Simpson with a backhand shot.

Halttunen finally put London on the board at 9:45 of the frame. He picked up a loose puck at the blue line and ripped a wrist shot that beat Oke blocker side from the left faceoff circle.

Cowan made it a one-goal game at 7:48 of the third period. Dickinson sent the puck off the boards from behind the net and found Cowan at the right faceoff circle and he fired it past Oke.

Dickinson then knotted the contest at 10:16 to the raucous approval of the London faithful in the crowd. He capitalized on a feed from Max McCue on a 2-on-1.

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