Never having made it out of the eighth-finals, this proved to be the year for the Rampage, as they become the 8th different franchise to hoist the Howitzer Cup and the 7th different in as many years. How do you like that for parity, Bettman?
The Rampage cruised to a decisive 55-40 win over the Calgary Tunder, and were led by the monster 16-point week of John Tavares (2g 7a - playmaker). Tyler Seguin also contributed 10 points (3g 4a - sniper) and Braden Holtby added 12 from the crease thanks to 4 wins, an OTL and an assist. The Rampage received at least a point from every player they dressed, and were buoyed by a 5-point effort by the brittle Pavel Datsyuk, who deigned himself healthy enough to return from his latest injury. If there was a weakness to this dominant effort, it was that only 5 of the Rampage's 55 points came from their blueline.
The Thunder are to be commended on their fine effort as well, after a very successful season. Having now climbed Bronze-Silver-Gold-Howitzer in consecutive seasons, the Tunder are clearly a team to watch out for. This was their first trip to the finals after making it to the quarter-finals last season. In the finals, the Tunder were led by Jamie Benn, who posted an 8 point week without the aid of money-man status, and Erik Karlsson, who chipped in 10 points from the blueline (2g 4a - playmaker). Unfortunately for the Tunder, goaltender Kari Lehtonen (0 pts) picked a terrible 10 days to go winless, being outplayed by Holtby as well as by his own backup, Anders Lindback (now in Buffalo), who put up 6 on the bench.
Congratulations to both participants, but doubly so to our
NEW HOWITZER CUP CHAMPIONS,