While the NHL playoffs are entering its final round on Saturday, there are playoff elsewhere that are looking for winners as well. One of them includes the Memorial Cup in the OHL. Two Flyers prospects are involved and are heading to the semi-final round this evening.
J.R. Avon, Brian Zanetti, and the Peterborough Petes moved on to the semi-finals after a come from behind win against the Kamloops Blazers. Both teams were fighting for a chance to stay alive in the tie-breaking game. Winner moved on for a matchup against the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Despite scoring the first goal of the games, the Petes would give up the next four as the Blazers took a commanding 4-1 in the second period. After losing to this same team on Saturday 10-2, it looked like it was going to be that all over again for the Petes. But not this time.
It was the Petes turn to score the next four goals. Three of those would come in the second period both Flyers prospects would have important roles in the comeback. You need the tying goal first in order to come back. And that’s what Zanetti did in the final minutes of the second.
That was Zanetti’s first goal of the Memorial Cup and it could not have come at a more important point. The two teams would need overtime to decide the winner, the first time in Memorial Cup history that a game has needed to go past regulation.
And it was Avon to the rescue. Avon also helped the Petes earn their first OHL title in 17 years. So he has scored some pretty important goals recently.
This was Avon’s third goal of the tournament and likely the biggest one he’s ever scored. In fact, he said just that after the game. This was also the third time the Petes were in a tie breaker game, but the first time they won one. Avon added how he doesn’t even remember the celebration that took place afterward.
"”I blacked out. I was trying to celebrate but I think Mayer jumped on my back too early which kind of sucked, ruined the moment. But it was unreal. I blacked out after that, I don’t even remember what happened.”"
The Petes don’t have much time to celebrate this victory as they’ll be right back at it tonight. And the test isn’t easy against a top team in the Thunderbirds. As Avon said, the team will have to keep the celebrations to a minimum because they haven’t made it all the way just yet.
"”I think we gotta bring down the celebrations tonight. We still have one more until the Memorial Cup. Just tone it down a bit and start fresh tomorrow and bring out A-game again.”"