REGINA, SASK. – Happy, but not satisfied.
That’s how Summerside’s Noah Dobson described being 2-0 at the Canadian Hockey League championship with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
“We came here to win the Memorial Cup, so we’re going to keep working towards that,” the 18-year-old defenceman said Monday from Regina, Sask.
“We’re happy with (our record), but it’s not over yet,” added Mitchell Balmas, a Sydney, N.S., native who started his junior career with the Charlottetown Islanders.
Both said they know the games get bigger and bigger as the week goes along.
The Titan, who was idle on Monday, complete the round robin Tuesday with a game against the Ontario Hockey League champion Hamilton Bulldogs that starts at 11 p.m. Atlantic. The Bulldogs were playing Swift Current in Monday’s game. A Hamilton loss would guarantee the Titan, which includes former Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals forward Marc-Andre LeCouffe, a berth in the final.
Regardless of Monday’s outcome, the Titan is looking to keep improving.
“We want to finish the round robin strong heading into the semis or the finals,” Dobson said.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Titan started the four-team tournament by defeating the Swift Current Broncos, who won the Western Hockey League, 4-3 in overtime on Saturday and followed it up by defeating the host Pats 8-6 on Sunday.
The Titan led Regina 6-2 going to the third period and withstood the late push by the host squad.
Dobson had four points in the game, including the empty-net goal. While acknowledging it’s nice to be able to provide offence for his team, he said, the only thing that matters is the win.
Dobson, who has two goals and three assists in the tournament, said the competition has been good and they have been tested both games.
“All year when faced with adversity, or in big games, we really came through it,” Dobson said. “It’s kind of the identity of our team: When the going gets tough, we don't usually roll over, we keep pushing.”
Balmas said they kept fighting back against Swift Current to get the important first victory then withstood Regina’s push.
“To be able to keep control, and be able to get the job done, was big for us,” he said.
Balmas said the Brandt Centre is a nice rink, similar to Halifax.
“It’s loud and fun to play in,” he said.
Balmas, who had an assist on Sunday, said he remembers watching his friend, Cole Reginato, play in last year’s tournament with the Saint John Sea Dogs.
“I remember last year just thinking how cool it would be to be able to play in this tournament,” he said. “Here I am now and it’s everything I thought it would be.”
The top three teams after the round robin advance to the playoffs. The top team goes straight to Sunday’s final while the second- and third-place teams meet in Friday’s semifinal.