Bulldogs win Don Johnson Memorial Cup
The Antigonish Jr. Bulldogs scored four times in a span of 2:38 early in the second period and hung on, defeating the Kensington Vipers from Prince Edward Island 4-3 and winning the 2023 Don Johnson Memorial Cup Championship Tournament at Queens Place Emera Centre in Liverpool Sunday afternoon. Three of the goals were scored by Will Fitzsimmons and the other by Will Mierau who scored just over two minutes into the second when he picked up a loose puck and put it into an empty net to the right of Noah Visser in the Viper nets. Visser was on his pads as he tried to get back in position. Then Fitzsimmons struck with his three in a span of 1:33, one a shot from the blue line, the other two were shots from the face-off circle and it was 4-0. The Vipers were stunned with the relentless attack by Antigonish. The Vipers began to crawl back into the game as Ryan Richards scored to pull his team within three. With only four seconds remaining in the second period, a great two on one by the Vipers saw the initial shot missed with the puck going behind the Jr. Bulldogs net, Richards picked up the puck and whirled around to shove it into the low left-handed corner of the Bulldogs net. Things were looking up for the Vipers in the third as the Bulldogs were trying to protect their lead more than being aggressive and trying to score a fifth goal. With Antigonish on the power-play, the Vipers Brett Ballum seemingly deflected a shot from Reese Wyand at the point and the Vipers trailed by only one. The Vipers pulled Visser with 1:41 to play but simply could not come up with the tying goal despite outshooting the Jr. Bulldogs 32-30. The late Don Johnson’s son Peter and his daughter Olivia were in attendance to present the Atlantic Junior Hockey Championship Award to Bulldogs Captain Sam Grant. It marked the first time since 1984 that the Bulldogs have won the Don Johnson Cup.