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Injured defenceman provides much-needed spark for Western Red Wings at Don Johnson Memorial Cup

Injured Western Red Wings defenceman Matt Thompson, second row, second from right, is being credited with providing a much-needed spark for his team on Sunday afternoon. A kneeling Thompson is pictured here along with Red Wings owner Robert Arsenault during the traditional on-ice team photo. The Red Wings edged the Kensington Vipers 4-3 in overtime to win the 2019 Don Johnson Memorial Cup Atlantic junior B hockey championship in Kensington.
Injured Western Red Wings defenceman Matt Thompson, second row, second from right, is being credited with providing a much-needed spark for his team on Sunday afternoon. A kneeling Thompson is pictured here along with Red Wings owner Robert Arsenault during the traditional on-ice team photo. The Red Wings edged the Kensington Vipers 4-3 in overtime to win the 2019 Don Johnson Memorial Cup Atlantic junior B hockey championship in Kensington. - Jason Simmonds

Thompson delivers emotional message to teammates before overtime

KENSINGTON, P.E.I. —

An injury may have prevented Matt Thompson from playing, but it didn’t stop the 19-year-old defenceman from making perhaps the biggest off-ice contribution from a player in the history of the Western Red Wings.

Thompson, who has been sidelined for five weeks with a broken ankle, provided a much-needed spark for the Red Wings during the intermission between the third period and overtime of the 2019 Don Johnson Memorial Cup championship game on Sunday afternoon. The host Kensington Vipers had tied the game 3-3 with 18 seconds remaining in regulation time.
“The boys were a little bit down when they scored to tie it up,” said Thompson, who’s from Summerside. “The room was pretty quiet so I had to make some noise and get the boys fired up.”
What was Thompson’s message?
“I just said, ‘Boys, it’s too quiet in here’ and me being on crutches I went to town on the table with the crutches,” answered Thompson.
Chandler Wood, who scored 6:09 into overtime to give the Red Wings a 4-3 win and the franchise’s first-ever Atlantic junior B hockey championship, acknowledged Thompson “really set the tempo” for overtime.
“We were going to come out and win this thing,” continued Wood.
Red Wings head coach Nathan DesRoches described the Red Wings as “a pretty deflated group” following regulation time.
“Matt Thompson, who is generally a really quiet kid, went in there and slammed the table with his crutches and said, ‘Let’s go get it’ and that’s what the boys did,” said DesRoches. “It was an excellent job.”
Red Wings captain Chasse Gallant described Thompson’s action as a “turning point” for the team.
“We knew how bad he wanted to be on the ice, so we had to regroup for him,” said Gallant.

Click here for the following related stories:

Early story on championship game between Red Wings and Vipers:

Click here for updated story, including post-game comments and photo gallery, on championship game between Red Wings and Vipers:

Red Wings' Chandler Wood continuing overtime magic in Kensington:

Founder of Don Johnson Memorial Cup remembered:

Story on Red Wings' semifinal win:

Story on Vipers' semifinal win:

Jason.simmonds@journalpioneer.com
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