Jurco hands Sea Dogs berth in Memorial Cup final

Sunaya Sapurji
Yahoo Sports

Tomas Jurco wants to make something clear when he’s regularly asked about his unbelievable stick tricks: “I am not a clown.”

On Monday night though, underneath the big top of the Hershey Centre, the Saint John Sea Dogs forward put on a display that would have relegated Barnum & Bailey to opening-act status with Jurco as the main event.

“He’s unbelievable,” said teammate Stanislav Galiev smiling and shaking his head in disbelief.

It was Jurco who set up Galiev’s power-play goal in the second period and then scored the game-tying goal to help the QMJHL-champion Saint John Sea Dogs rally for a 3-2 thrilling overtime victory over the Owen Sound Attack at the MasterCard Memorial Cup. It was the first overtime decision in the first four games of the round-robin tournament.

Up until Galiev’s goal, Attack netminder Jordan Binnington had kept the Sea Dogs at bay to protect a 2-0 lead for the Ontario Hockey League champions. But Jurco corralled a loose puck behind the Owen Sound net and had carried it into the corner. He then quickly pivoted to evade a defender and threw a pass to Galiev who was waiting in the crease.

“I skated right to the crease and said, ‘Tommy I’m here!’ said the Russian sniper. “I don’t think he saw me but he heard me and he gave me a great pass right on my stick so I had to shoot high glove and that’s what I did.”

“I was happy it worked,” added Jurco.



According to Saint John head coach Gerard Gallant, that goal was crucial in terms of not only getting to Binnington, but also helping the Sea Dogs find their offensive mojo.

"We're a pretty gifted offensive team," said Gallant. "That first goal was an unbelievable play by Jurco to Galiev, and that got the ball rolling. We can score some goals and we know we're never out of a hockey game."

Jurco, 18, unveiled his next big performance with 3:27 left in regulation time and Owen Sound desperately trying stave off the Sea Dogs’ relentless attack. The rangy winger, ranked 20th in North America by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service for next month’s entry draft in Minneapolis, jumped on a puck richocheting off the end boards and used his ultra-quick hands to roof it over Binnington to send the game into overtime. Jonathan Huberdeau, who’s expected to be a top-10 pick in the draft, buried teammate Michael Kirkpatrick’s pass high over Binnington’s blocker with just over two minutes remaining in the first overtime frame.

"I just shot the puck and I thought I'd missed it, but it hit the post and went in," said Huberdeau. "I was alone in the slot. (Binnington) played pretty good and we had to work hard to score."

The victory by the Sea Dogs (2-0) gave them a bye into the Memorial Cup final, though they must first finish out the round robin on Tuesday night against the Western Hockey League-champion Kootenay Ice (0-2), meaning there will be little rest for the weary Maritime team.

“Both teams were tired, so it was just about who was going to score,” said Jurco of the overtime. “We have a game (Tuesday) so we’re just going to eat and sleep as much as we can.”

Another game means another opportunity for Jurco to showcase his speed and deft puck skills. He is most widely known in hockey circles thanks to his YouTube videos which have garnered hundreds of thousands of views from hockey fans all over the world.

His first video – which has been viewed close to 185,000 times -- was recorded by a friend on a playground in his native Slovakia and posted by a third party when Jurco was only 14 years old. In that video he’s performing tricks with a puck and stick at such a high level that it makes one question the laws of physics.



Even his teammates are fans of his videos, though they also enjoy teasing him about his Internet popularity.

“Some of the guys in the locker room call him ‘YouTube Sensation’,” said Galiev. “He has unbelievable hands and skills, he practises a lot those moves.”

But as much as Jurco enjoys and appreciates the fact that people have uploaded his work for all to see, he seems to fear being labeled as a one-trick pony.

“Everyone only talks about my hands and tricks and stuff,” said Jurco. “But I’m trying to be a complete hockey player – offensively and defensively – that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Any time he plays in an event in the spotlight – like the CHL Top Prospects Game or when he represented Slovakia at the world junior tournament – the media attention wants to focus on his circus act.



“It’s good,” said Jurco of the spotlight his YouTube prowess has brought him. “But sometimes it’s just getting a little bit annoying.”

Galiev, a third-round pick of the Washington Capitals last summer, believes that Jurco’s game is far more multi-dimensional that most people give him credit for, thanks to the videos. The two imports on the Sea Dogs are close, often hanging out together and even rooming with each other on road trips.

“He is like my brother,” said Galiev. “I talk Russian and he talks Slovakian so we understand each other. It’s a lot of fun with him.”

“It’s great because we help each other. We go to the movies together or we go to the mall together, so I’m very happy to have him on my team.”

So how does Galiev view his best friend “Tommy,” the now-reluctant YouTube sensation with the jaw dropping skills?

“Sometimes he’s a clown,” said Galiev with a laugh. “But usually he’s a serious and nice guy.”

  • Wild's Matt Cooke gets 7-game suspension from NHL

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Minnesota Wild left wing Matt Cooke has been suspended for seven games by the NHL for a knee-to-knee hit that injured Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie. … More »

    AP - Sports - 2 minutes 8 seconds ago
  • 'Grandfather' Phelps plays down Rio prospects

    'Grandfather' Phelps plays down Rio prospects

    By Julian Linden PHOENIX (Reuters) - Michael Phelps is playing down expectations about his return to competitive swimming but the most decorated Olympian of all time, with a mind-boggling 18 gold medals, is finding it tough to sell himself as an … More »

    Reuters - 4 minutes 4 seconds ago
  • Seahawks and Packers to kick off new season

    (Reuters) - The Seattle Seahawks open the defense of their Super Bowl crown and kick off the 2014-15 season at home against the Green Bay Packers, the National Football League (NFL) announced on Wednesday. The September 4 league opener will mark … More »

    Reuters - 4 minutes 41 seconds ago
  • Johnson, Palat, MacKinnon up for rookie award

    Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat are finalists for the NHL's top rookie award. They're joined by Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche in the running for the Calder Trophy. Johnson had a rookie team-record 24 goals … More »

    AP - Sports - 5 minutes ago
  • Matt Cooke suspended seven games for knee-on-knee hit that injured Tyson Barrie

    Matt Cooke suspended seven games for knee-on-knee hit that injured Tyson Barrie

    Matt Cooke has been suspended seven games by the Department of Player Safety. … More »

    Puck Daddy - 5 minutes ago
  • NFL-Seahawks and Packers to kick off new season

    The Seattle Seahawks open the defence of their Super Bowl crown and kick off the 2014-15 season at home against the Green Bay Packers, the National Football League (NFL) announced on Wednesday. The Sept. 4 league opener will mark the Packers' first … More »

    Reuters - 8 minutes ago
  • Blues C Backes scratched for Game 4

    Blues C Backes scratched for Game 4

    St. Louis center David Backes was scratched Wednesday night for Game 4 of the Blues' first-round playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks due to an upper-body injury. Backes did not participate in St. Louis' morning skate, but coach Ken … More »

    AP - Sports - 9 minutes ago
  • Swimming-'Grandfather' Phelps plays down Rio prospects

    * Phelps plays down expectations * Drops one of three races for comeback meet * Hints that he wants to compete at Rio in 2016 (Recasts with quotes) By Julian Linden PHOENIX, April 23 (Reuters) - Michael Phelps is playing down expectations about … More »

    Reuters - 12 minutes ago
  • Sanchez's slam in 11th lifts Giants

    Sanchez's slam in 11th lifts Giants

    Backup catcher Hector Sanchez played a starring role in a wild win. Sanchez hit two of San Francisco's six homers, including a grand slam in the 11th inning Wednesday that gave the Giants a thrilling 12-10 victory over the Colorado Rockies. With … More »

    AP - Sports - 15 minutes ago
  • 2014 NFL schedule: NFL's partnership with CBS leads to better Thursday night games

    2014 NFL schedule: NFL's partnership with CBS leads to better Thursday night games

    Green Bay will start the regular season on the road against Seattle on September 4 on a Thursday night in Week 1. … More »

    Shutdown Corner - 18 minutes ago
  • Pau Gasol: 'There'd have to be significant changes' for me to return to Lakers in free agency

    Pau Gasol: 'There'd have to be significant changes' for me to return to Lakers in free agency

    In a post on his personal website, the Spaniard discusses the chances that his time with the Los Angeles Lakers has reached its end. … More »

    Ball Don't Lie - 18 minutes ago
  • Henderson Denies Haslem

    Henderson Denies Haslem

    Gerald Henderson comes from across the lane for the big block on Udonis Haslem at the rim. … More »

    NBA.com - 31 minutes ago
  • McRoberts to Henderson

    McRoberts to Henderson

    Josh McRoberts skips the three-pointer and hits Gerald Henderson with a lob for the alley-oop jam. … More »

    NBA.com - 35 minutes ago
  • Pineda ejected for substance on neck

    Pineda ejected for substance on neck

    New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was ejected from a game against the Boston Red Sox in the second inning Wednesday night after umpires found a foreign substance on his neck. Pineda's ejection occurred 13 days after the right-hander had brown … More »

    AP - Sports - 41 minutes ago
  • Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda ejected from Red Sox game after umpire finds substance on neck

    Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda ejected from Red Sox game after umpire finds substance on neck

    BOSTON - New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was ejected from a game against the Boston Red Sox in the second inning Wednesday night after umpires found a foreign substance on his neck. Pineda's ejection occurred 13 days after the right-hander … More »

    The Canadian Press - 41 minutes ago
  • After 500th HR, Pujols hears from Big Papi, Jeter

    After 500th HR, Pujols hears from Big Papi, Jeter

    In the hours after Albert Pujols hit his 500th career homer, his cellphone kept buzzing early into Wednesday morning. There were texts and calls from the likes of fellow players David Ortiz and Derek Jeter. And there was a conversation with his … More »

    AP - Sports - 42 minutes ago
  • Seahawks to open NFL season vs. Packers

    Seahawks to open NFL season vs. Packers

    As Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks get to kick off the NFL's regular season by hosting the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 4. It's the third straight season the Packers have traveled to face the defending Super Bowl champions. ''It's a … More »

    AP - Sports - 43 minutes ago
  • Stephen Curry: Warriors aren't 'going to lie down' against Clippers

    Stephen Curry: Warriors aren't 'going to lie down' against Clippers

    After losing by 40 points in Game 2, Stephen Curry vows the Warriors will be more physical with the Clippers in Game 3. … More »

    Yahoo Sports - 45 minutes ago
  • Tracy McGrady makes Sugar Land Skeeters opening day roster

    Tracy McGrady makes Sugar Land Skeeters opening day roster

    Tracy McGrady's baseball dream lives on. … More »

    Big League Stew - 45 minutes ago
  • Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda ejected after foreign substance discovered on his neck

    Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda ejected after foreign substance discovered on his neck

    The Yankees pitcher was involved in a similar controversy against the Red Sox earlier this month. … More »

    Big League Stew - 51 minutes ago
  • M's end skid at 8 on Seager's walkoff HR

    M's end skid at 8 on Seager's walkoff HR

    With one swing, Kyle Seager hopes he ended his personal skid at the plate and the Seattle Mariners' slide. ''Any time you see the ball hit the ground, it's obviously a big confidence booster,'' Seager said. Thankfully.'' Seager hit a three-run … More »

    AP - Sports - 59 minutes ago
  • James All the Way

    James All the Way

    LeBron James picks up the loose ball and throws down a one-handed slam in transition. … More »

    NBA.com - 1 hour 3 minutes ago
  • Phelps ditches one of his planned comeback events

    Phelps ditches one of his planned comeback events

    By Julian Linden PHOENIX (Reuters) - Michael Phelps has withdrawn from one of the three events he planned to compete in at his eagerly-anticipated return to competitive swimming. Phelps had entered the heats for the 50 metres freestyle, 100m … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 4 minutes ago
  • 2014 NFL schedule: Thanksgiving will be an NFC party, with some great games

    2014 NFL schedule: Thanksgiving will be an NFC party, with some great games

    It's been a while since every Thanksgiving NFL game was a great matchup. There's always a dud. Not this year. By making a tweak with the networks, the NFL guaranteed three tremendous matchups. The day starts with Chicago at Detroit, followed by … More »

    Shutdown Corner - 1 hour 6 minutes ago
  • Benzema strike gives Real edge over holders Bayern

    Benzema strike gives Real edge over holders Bayern

    By Iain Rogers MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid struck early through Karim Benzema and comfortably held Bayern Munich at bay to beat the holders 1-0 on Wednesday and move a step closer to a first Champions League final in 12 years. Chasing a … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 7 minutes ago
  • Injured players eager to get to work with Colts

    Dwayne Allen spent months envisioning the day he could get back to work for the Colts on the practice field. Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne says he's feeling good about his recovery from a torn ACL in his right knee, though doctors have instructed … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 7 minutes ago
  • 2014 NFL schedule: Packers-Seahawks 'Fail Mary' reunion kicks off season

    2014 NFL schedule: Packers-Seahawks 'Fail Mary' reunion kicks off season

    The NFL isn't messing around with its 2014 schedule, starting off with Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks, a rematch of the Fail Mary game. … More »

    Shutdown Corner - 1 hour 8 minutes ago
  • Ancelotti happy as Real thrive without much from Ronaldo, Bale

    Ancelotti happy as Real thrive without much from Ronaldo, Bale

    By Iain Rogers MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti praised his team for beating holders Bayern Munich in Wednesday's Champions League semi-final, first leg without their two biggest names taking a leading role. Cristiano Ronaldo, … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 9 minutes ago
  • Rangers' Perez gets second straight SHO

    Rangers' Perez gets second straight SHO

    With the Texas rotation ravaged by injuries early in the season, Martin Perez has more than filled the void. Perez pitched his second consecutive shutout to extend his scoreless innings streak to 26 and the Texas Rangers wrapped up a three-game … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 10 minutes ago
  • Kidd-Gilchrist's And-one

    Kidd-Gilchrist's And-one

    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist draws the foul and gets the tough bucket to fall … More »

    NBA.com - 1 hour 12 minutes ago
  • 2014 NFL regular-season schedule - Week by week

    2014 NFL regular-season schedule - Week by week

    The 2014 NFL season schedule was released Wednesday. See who your favorite team faces and when. … More »

    Shutdown Corner - 1 hour 13 minutes ago
  • Seahawks QB Wilson divorcing from wife

    Seahawks QB Wilson divorcing from wife

    Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has announced that he and his wife Ashton are divorcing. Wilson made the announcement in a statement released by the Seahawks on Wednesday. He says decisions like this are not easy and respectfully asks … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 14 minutes ago
  • Should the CFL go to a harder salary cap?

    Should the CFL go to a harder salary cap?

    Wednesday's news that the Saskatchewan Roughriders were the only team to exceed the CFL's salary cap in 2013 (they spent $4,417,975 in salaries, $17,975 over the cap) is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, this breaks one pattern; the … … More »

    55 Yard Line - 1 hour 19 minutes ago
  • A's reject 10-year stadium lease offer

    A's reject 10-year stadium lease offer

    The Oakland Athletics say they are stopping negotiations to extend their lease at the Coliseum. A's President Michael Crowley issued the statement Wednesday after the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority said the team owes more than $5 million … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 23 minutes ago
  • Ducks without Getzlaf, Selanne vs. Stars

    Ducks without Getzlaf, Selanne vs. Stars

    DALLAS (AP) -- Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf is out of Game 4 against the Dallas Stars because of an upper-body injury. … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 24 minutes ago
  • Heat extend deal in Miami through 2040

    Saying they reaffirm the team's commitment to the city, the Miami Heat announced Wednesday night that they have agreed to extend their partnership with Miami-Dade County another 10 years through 2040. Heat managing partner Micky Arison, whose team … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 31 minutes ago
  • Formula One boss Ecclestone goes on trial in Germany

    Formula One boss Ecclestone goes on trial in Germany

    By Keith Weir MUNICH (Reuters) - Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone goes on trial for bribery in Germany on Thursday in a case that could see the Briton's long dominance of the motor sport ended by a jail sentence. Prosecutors in Munich … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 36 minutes ago
  • Ryan Getzlaf to miss Game 4 versus Stars with upper-body injury

    Ryan Getzlaf to miss Game 4 versus Stars with upper-body injury

    The Anaheim Ducks will be without captain and first-line centre Ryan Getzlaf for Wednesday night's pivotal Game 4 versus the Dallas Stars. According to the team, Getzlaf will miss the game with an upper-body injury. … More »

    Puck Daddy - 1 hour 37 minutes ago
  • Phelps having fun in his return to swimming

    Phelps having fun in his return to swimming

    Michael Phelps is making a comeback after nearly two years out of the pool for the simplest of reasons: He missed the sport that has been his entire life. ''Looking at a black line for hours on end, I don't know what made me do it,'' he said … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 37 minutes ago
  • Red Sox demote struggling OF Nava

    The Red Sox demoted struggling switch-hitting outfielder Daniel Nava and recalled right-hander Alex Wilson on Wednesday. Nava, 31, was a big part of Boston's run to the 2013 World Series title, but was hitting just .149 with two homers and three … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 43 minutes ago