Memorial Cup final sold out
Full house in Mississauga, Ont., for CHL championship game between host Majors, Sea Dogs
The Mississauga St. Michael's Majors have their first sellout of the season for Sunday's Memorial Cup final against the Saint John Sea Dogs.
No tickets were available as of Saturday night for Sunday's 7 p.m. ET faceoff at the 5,500-seat Hershey Centre, according to Ticketmaster's website.
Earlier Saturday, only a single ticket remained.
The Majors, who often played before small crowds during the Ontario Hockey League regular season, had an announced crowd of just 1,363 for their playoff opener in late March.
The Hershey Centre also was at half capacity or less for games in the OHL final.
"We haven't had a sold-out rink in a while here and anytime you're playing before nearly 6,000 people and most of them are cheering for you it's great," Mississauga forward Devante Smith-Pelly told reporters.
Smith-Pelly, who scored twice in Friday's 3-1 semifinal victory over the Kootenay Ice to give him a team-high seven points (four goals, three assists) in the tournament, feels home-ice advantage is a big key for the Majors.
"It's huge," he said. "It kind of takes away from the nerves, it's an environment we're all used to and having the crowd behind us is very big."
Class of OHL
Mississauga was the class of the OHL this season, leading the league in wins (53), goals (287) and fewest allowed (170). Its record (53-13-2) also was tops and the Majors ended the season third in the Canadian's top-10 ranking.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Sea Dogs came into the tournament as the CHL's top-ranked squad and qualified for the title game by winning their first two games.
The Sea Dogs posted a league-record 58 regular-season wins before beating Gatineau in six games to capture the President's Trophy. And Saint John was a stellar 10-0 away on the road in the playoffs.
Saint John opened the Memorial Cup with a 4-3 win over the Majors, thanks in part to a missed offside call on the game's winning goal, before clinching a berth in the final with a 3-2 overtime victory over Owen Sound.
The Sea Dogs, who have nine players eligible for next month's NHL entry draft, finished the round robin with a 5-4 overtime loss to Kootenay.
Trouble is, Saint John heads into the final off a five-day layoff whereas the Majors are on a nice roll, having won their last four games.
"You definitely worry about it," Sea Dogs' coach Gerard Gallant said of the layoff. "But through the playoffs we've had five days off or eight or nine and every time we've come back we've won the first game so it's not an issue for us.
"We skated hard [Friday], we had a little skate [Saturday] and we're ready to go."