Bulldogs defeat Oil Kings to reach Memorial Cup semifinal

Mason McTavish led the way on offence with two goals and an assist as the Hamilton Bull Dogs defeated the Edmonton Oil Kings 4-2 to clinch a berth in the semi-final at the Memorial Cup.

Mason McTavish scored twice and had an assist for the Hamilton Bulldogs in a 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Memorial Cup on Friday.

The Ontario Hockey League champion Bulldogs advanced to Monday's semifinal with a 1-0-0-2 record and eliminated the Western Hockey League's Oil Kings (0-2-0-1) from contention.

The host Saint John Sea Dogs (1-0-1-0) face the unbeaten Quebec Junior Hockey League champion Shawinigan Cataractes (2-0-0-0) on Saturday to determine which team finishes first in the round-robin and earns a bye to Wednesday's championship game.

The Canadian Hockey League's new points system for the Memorial Cup offers three points for a regulation win, two points for an overtime win and a point for an overtime loss in the preliminary round.

Edmonton picked up two points from an OT victory over the Sea Dogs on Wednesday, but needed to avoid a regulation loss Friday to continue playing for a CHL title.

McTavish, the third overall pick in the 2021 NHL entry draft by the Anaheim Ducks, scored the eventual game-winner in the third period and also added an empty-net goal for Hamilton.

Avery Hayes had a goal and an assist and Ryan Winterton also scored for Hamilton. 

Bulldogs defenceman Arber Xhekaj had two assists. Goaltender Marco Costantini stopped 40 of 42 shot for the victory, 

The Bulldogs scored two power-play goals in the first period to lead 2-0 after two periods, but Edmonton's Jalen Luypen halved the deficit with a short-handed goal at 2:03 of the third.

McTavish restored Hamilton's two-goal lead at 13:26 before Oil Kings winger Jake Neighbours drew Edmonton within a goal again at 17:14.

"We were kind of getting outplayed there in the third," McTavish said. "We expected them to have a big push there. It was their season on the line. We expected it, but it was nice to (score) that one."

Oil Kings goaltender Sebastian Cossa stopped 32 of 35 shots in the loss.

"I thought it was the best game of the tournament for us," Neighbours said. "Just couldn't finish early. Proud of the guys. We never quit."

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