Metro Jets crowned 2018 NA3HL Fraser Cup Champions
March 31, 2018
The third time was a charm for the NA3HL’s Metro Jets. After making it to the Championship Game the last two years and falling short, the Jets came from behind to defeat the St. Louis Jr. Blues in overtime by a score of 3-2. It completed a perfect 5-0 run through the Fraser Cup for the Jets, who won both their Semi-Final and Championship games in overtime. It was the first Fraser Cup Championship for the Jets and fourth league championship overall since 1988.
The 1st period opened with very balanced play and each team had plenty of chances. The best two goalies in the Tournament, St. Louis’ Blake Bjella and Metro’s Andrew Kormos were both equal to the task early on. However, a double minor penalty on the Jr. Blues would net the game’s first goal for the Jets. After an initial save by Bjella, the puck pin-balled in front of the crease where it was picked up by Metro Jets captain Griffin Sawyer and deposited behind Bjella for a 1-0 Jets lead late in the 1st period, a lead that they would take to the lockerroom.
In the 2nd period, the Jr. Blues really turned up the heat, but several key stops by Kormos kept St. Louis off the board. Late in the period, a turnover deep in the Metro zone finally let the Jr. Blues break through as Will Baginski picked up the loose puck and fired it through traffic, beating Kormos over the blocker to tie the Championship Game at 1-1 with just over a minute remaining in the 2nd period.
In the 3rd period, the Jr. Blues continued their momentum from the 2nd period and struck again for their first lead of the game. This time it was Bud Winter who ripped a shot low and between the legs of Kormos to give the Jr. Blues their first lead of the game at 2-1 less than two minutes into the period. Midway through the 3rd period, it looked as if the Jr. Blues struck again courtesy of Winter again as he ripped a shot that beat Kormos, only to squarely deflect off the pipe. The rebound was sent to the neutral zone where Metro forward Connor Inger was waiting and skating in all alone on a breakaway, beat Bjella with a nice backhand moved to tie the game at 2-2. Despite some other great chances by both teams the rest of the period, both goalies held strong and the Fraser Cup would go to overtime.
The overtime was largely dominated by the Jets who seemed to have a spring in their step and ramped up the play in the offensive zone. While Bjella staved off several chances, the Jets finally broke through for their long awaited Championship as forward Jhuwon Davis poked home a pass on the doorstep under Bjella for the Fraser Cup winning goal.
Kormos, who split time in goal during the event, won his third start and made 35 saves in the win. Bjella, who had three shutouts in the Fraser Cup, playing in all five Jr. Blues games, made 31 saves in the loss.
NA3HL Fraser Cup All-Tournament Team
Forward: Connor Inger, Metro Jets
Forward: Bud Winter, St. Louis Jr. Blues
Forward: Reggie Millette, Metro Jets
Defense: Mark Capkovic, St. Louis Jr. Blues
Defense: Trevor Momot, Metro Jets
Goaltender: Blake Bjella, St. Louis Jr. Blues
Most Valuable Player: Connor Inger, Metro Jets