by David Brien
RIVIÈRE-DU-LOUP, Que. – William Leblanc scored the last two of seven unanswered goals and the Grenadiers de Châteauguay advanced to their second straight gold medal game at the TELUS Cup with a 7-1 semifinal win over the Strathmore Bisons on Saturday.
The Grenadiers will face the Toronto Young Nationals in Sunday’s final (4 p.m. ET, TSN), one year after their triple-overtime gold medal game loss to Prince Albert in the longest game in tournament history.
Antoine Morand and Maxime Comtois had a goal and two assists apiece for the Grenadiers, while Pierre-Luc Sanche and Jacob Lapierre had one of each. William Poirier had the other goal for Châteauguay.
Shane Fraser was the lone goal scorer for Strathmore, which will meet the Regina Pat Canadians in Sunday’s bronze medal game (noon ET/9 a.m. PT).
It was the Bisons who broke through first; a won face-off in the offensive zone ended up on the stick of Fraser, who roofed a wrist shot for a shorthanded goal midway through the first period.
Lapierre answered for Châteauguay at 13:51, redirecting an Alexandre Desgagnés point shot past Strathmore goaltender Kurtis Chapman to send the teams to the intermission all even.
Comtois extended his goal-scoring streak just 26 seconds into the second period, finding the back of the net for the eighth time in four games to give the Grenadiers the lead for good, and Sanche pushed the advantage to two just 2:28 later, hammering a one-timer past Chapman.
Poirier scored on the power play with 5:47 left in the middle frame to make it a 4-1 game after 40 minutes.
Châteauguay head coach Steve Hartley called a timeout to set up his power play early in the third period and it paid off when Desgagnés and Comtois set up Morand for the 5-1 goal at 2:14.
Leblanc rounded out the scoring with two goals in the final 11 minutes, the second of which chased Chapman, who allowed seven goals on 52 shots. The Grenadiers replaced starter Kyle Jessiman as well, and Cody Campbell and Mikael Recine finished the final 7:40.
Châteauguay controlled the puck for much of the game, finishing with a one-sided 55-20 advantage in shots on goal.