Saint John moves into Memorial Cup title game with win over Shawinigan

SAINT JOHN, New Brunswick -- William Dufour scored four times in a span of 19 minutes, 55 seconds and the host Saint John Sea Dogs advanced to the Memorial Cup championship game, beating the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League rival Shawinigan Cataractes 5-3 on Saturday.

"To finish my [junior] career like this is so great," Dufour said. "We have one more game to win. We're just going to go for it."

QMJHL champion Shawinigan will face Ontario Hockey League winner Hamilton on Monday night in the semifinal, with the winner advancing to face Saint John in the final Wednesday night.

Dufour erased Shawinigan's 3-0 lead with a natural hat trick in the second, scoring at 2:02, 2:23 and 8:38. Jeremie Poirier gave the Sea Dogs the lead on a power play with 5:48 left in the period, and Dufour struck again at 1:57 of the third.

The 6-foot-3 Dufour, selected in the fifth round of the 2020 NHL draft by the New York Islanders, was the MVP of the QMJHL this season after scoring 56 goals and finishing with 116 points in the regular season.

Loris Rafanomezantsoa opened the scoring for Shawinigan at 49 seconds, Olivier Nadeau made it 2-0 with 5:27 left in the period, and William Veillette connected with 43 seconds to go.

Nikolas Hurtubise made 26 saves for Saint John. The Sea Dogs had two victories and an overtime loss in round-robin play.

Canceled the past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event features the winners of the three major junior leagues and the host team.