Saginaw Spirit rout Moose Jaw Warriors to set up Memorial Cup final vs. London Knights

Ethan Hay had two goals and two assists in leading the host Saginaw Spirit to a 7-1 semifinal win over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors on Friday to punch their ticket into Sunday’s Memorial Cup final.

Saginaw will next meet the Ontario Hockey League champion London Knights, who advanced to the final after going 3-0 in the round robin. The Spirit fell 4-2 to the Knights in the round-robin finale on Wednesday.

Saginaw looks to be the first team to win as a first-time participant in the Memorial Cup since the Saint John Sea Dogs in 2011 and the eighth since 1972. The Spirit also aim to be the third host team in the last six tournaments to win the Memorial Cup with Windsor (2017) and Saint John (2022).

Rodwin Dionicio had a goal and three assists, while Lincoln Moore and Sebastien Gervais each had a goal and two assists for Saginaw. Braden Hache and Owen Beck scored the other two goals and Andrew Oke made 23 saves.

Jagger Firkus replied for Western Hockey League champion Moose Jaw. Jackson Unger stopped 30 shots.

The Warriors and Spirit met last Friday in the tournament opener, with Saginaw coming away with a 5-4 victory.

Hay opened the scoring just 3:03 into the first period. Gervais got a loose puck by the end boards and found Hay, who fired in the one-timer from the left faceoff circle.

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Lucas Brenton knotted the score at 4:18, jamming the puck into the net after squeezing through Saginaw’s defence. However, the Spirit were successful in challenging for goaltender interference with Oke having ended up in his own net before the puck went in and the goal was overturned.

Firkus got Moose Jaw on the board not long after at 7:08. He kept the puck on a 2-on-1 and flipped a backhand shot that trickled in off Oke.

The Spirit completely flipped the game on its head in the second period.

Hache restored Saginaw’s lead 1:53 into the frame. He took a feed from Michael Misa and wired home a wrist shot from just above the left faceoff circle.

Beck made it a two-goal game at 3:47. Josh Bloom came to a hard stop with a defender approaching him by the boards at the point, turned around and sent a perfect cross-ice backhand pass to a streaking Beck, who fired in a wrister from the right faceoff circle.

Moore got in on the fun at 9:05. Hay found Moore with a cross-ice pass and Moore blasted home the one-timer from a tight angle on the left faceoff circle.

Hay added his second of the game at 11:22. Moore stopped and spun around to dish a backhand cross-ice pass, finding a streaking Hay whose wrister beat Unger.

Gervais made it a five-goal game at 14:24. Hay tried to tuck home a rebound from Dionicio’s point shot but Gervais got the puck and scored with a backhand by the side of the net.

Dionicio padded the lead 1:10 into the third period, getting a takeaway in Moose Jaw’s zone and roofing a wrister past Unger.

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