Shawinigan did not have an easy start, as London put the pressure on and scored early. Ryan Rupert took a pass from Austin Watson and put it behind Girard, just 5:42 into the game. London controlled the flow of the game, and at times Shawinigan simply looked disorganized and unable to keep up with the Knights, but Girard stood tall, and only allowed the one goal.
The Cataractes came on stronger in the second period, and it only took 3:09 for the Cats to even the score. Zlobin's first goal came on a tipped Kirill Kabanov shot, as Zlobin crashed Michael Houser's net. The crowd erupted, even crazier and louder than Friday's semi-final game, practically drowning out the goal horn with their own air-horns and noisemakers. The rather significant London contingent in the building was drowned out as well, and Shawinigan seemed to feed off the crowd energy; they dismantled London's lone power-play chance of the period with some solid shorthanded chances.
Between the second and third periods, there was a request made to Shawinigan fans to please "be mindful of air horn use" which prompted an increase in air horn volume; to those watching at home, the air horns may have seemed annoying, but they actually made the atmosphere incredible, loud and entertaining and passionate. While it's understandable why the noisemakers might be regulated more strictly in the future (they are banned in rinks like Halifax), in this case, the game wouldn't have been as intense without the fan support.
And indeed, the home team did not disappoint. The shots on goal evened out to 27-25 with less than five minutes to go; both teams had decent chances in the third period and play was very much back-and-forth, but nothing got past Houser or Girard. London's Jared Knight nearly scored on two occasions, one right as the buzzer sounded to end regulation, but nothing doing - Shawinigan's defense and Girard kept the puck out.
Overtime was no quick, painless affair either. With the rink warmer than average and the ice chewed up, both teams were understandably worn down; however, Shawinigan went the extra step, and put forth a more valiant effort. Morgan Ellis in particular threw himself in front of every shot that came his way, even blocking two himself on one London scoring chance. It was eventually Zlobin that potted the game-winner, beating Houser the only way he was going to be beat that night, through traffic.
With that, at 11:03 PM, Shawinigan became the reigning Memorial Cup Champions.
While arguments can be made that they had more time off in the long run, Shawinigan did have one of the harder schedules of the tournament, winning four games in five nights and beating all three reigning champions to win the Cup. They're the first QMJHL host team to win since the Hull Olympiques in 1997.
Congratulations to Shawinigan and their loyal fans.