The Memorial Cup has been in full swing in Windsor, Ontario, this week, with round robin play starting four days ago, leading up to the championship game this Sunday, May 28th at 7:00. For Hurricanes fans, it’s an event worth tuning in for given the prospects who are representing Carolina in the tournament.
The host Windsor Spitfires are joined by the Western Hockey League Champion Seattle Thunderbirds, the Ontario Hockey League Champion Erie Otters (Warren Foegele) and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Champion Saint John Sea Dogs (Spencer Smallman, Julien Gauthier and Callum Booth).
The tournament follows a round-robin format where each team plays the other three teams once. The team at the top of the standings after the round-robin receives a bye into the championship game, while the second- and third-place teams play each other in a semifinal for the right to advance to the championship. The fourth-place team is eliminated after the round-robin.
Spitfires Hot Out Of The Gate
Windsor, who lost in the first round of the OHL playoffs, had not played in nearly six weeks prior to the tournament opener. However, it appears they used that time to get healthy, rather than rusty. The Spitfires were plagued this season by injuries to some of their top players, getting just 49 games from 2017 draftee Gabriel Vilardi and 35 games from 2016 Senators first-round selection Logan Brown.
With a well-rested team participating at near full strength, the Spits have won their first two games of the tournament by a combined score of 10-3, with victories over Saint John (3-2) and Seattle (7-1). The home team has gotten significant contributions up and down their lineup, with Jeremy Bracco (TOR) leading the way with four points, and four other players chipping in with three.
The Spitfires are on a collision course with Erie in their third round robin game Wednesday night, as both clubs are 2-0 thus far. The winner will take home first place and a spot in Sunday’s championship game, with the loser playing in the semifinal game on Friday night.
Erie’s Big Night
Twelve. Twelve is a number that you don’t see in any level of hockey very much anymore, but that’s the number of goals the Otters put up on Saint John on Monday night. Arizona prospect Dylan Strome piled up seven points in the victory, setting a record for the most points in a Memorial Cup game with four goals and three assists. In addition, four other Erie players finished with four points or more.
Unfortunately, the loss came at the hands of Carolina prospect and Sea Dogs goaltender Callum Booth, who was pulled after allowing five goals on 14 shots in the first period. Backup goaltender Alex D’Orio didn’t fare much better, as he allowed seven goals on 25 shots for the remainder of the game. No goaltender was making a difference last night however, as Erie’s high-octane power play finished the night 5 for 7 with the man advantage.
Erie has won their first two games in round-robin play, opening the tournament with a 4-2 victory over Seattle. Carolina prospect Warren Foegele, who was named the Most Valuable Player in the OHL Playoffs a week ago, has three assists and seven shots on goal in the Otters’ first two contests.
Sea Dogs Cooling Off
After running rampant through the QMJHL Playoffs, Saint John has hit the skids thus far in the Memorial Cup. The Sea Dogs went 16-2 en route to winning the Q’s Presidents Cup, with their only two losses coming to a Nicolas Roy-led Chicoutimi team in the semifinals.
The Memorial Cup has been a different story, however, with their first blemish of the tournament coming in a 3-2 loss to Windsor, followed up by their 12-5 drubbing by the hands of the Otters yesterday. Saint John has one more game remaining in round robin play, tonight against the Seattle Thunderbirds, who also have started the Memorial Cup 0-2. The loser of the game will go home empty handed, and the winner will stay alive and secure their place in the tournament’s semi-final against the loser of the Erie/Windsor match-up on Wednesday.
Canes Prospect Stats
- Warren Foegele (Erie): 2 GP, 0 Goals, 3 Assists, +1, 2 PIM, 7 SOG
- Spencer Smallman (Saint John): 2 GP, 1 Goal, 0 Assists, -1, 2 PIM, 3 SOG
- Julien Gauthier (Saint John): 2 GP, 1 Goal, 1 Assists, 0 +/-, O PIM, 4 SOG
- Callum Booth (Saint John): 2 GP, 0 Wins, 8 GA, 6.46 GAA, .784 Sv%
Results/Remaining Games and How to Watch
- Friday, May 19th - Windsor 3, Saint John 2
- Saturday, May 20th - Erie 4, Seattle 2
- Sunday, May 21st - Windsor 7, Seattle 1
- Monday, May 22nd - Erie 12, Saint John 5
- Tuesday, May 23rd - Seattle vs Saint John - 7:00 p.m. (Tape delay on NHL Network starting at 8:00)
- Wednesday, May 24th - Windsor vs Erie - 8:00 p.m. (Tape delay on NHL Network starting at 9:00)
- Thursday, May 25th - Tiebreaker (If Necessary) - 7:00 p.m. (Tape delay on NHL Network starting at 8:00)
- Friday, May 26th - Semi-Final: Teams TBD - 7:00 p.m. (Tape delay on NHL Network starting at 8:00)
- Sunday, May 28th - Championship: Teams TBD - 6:00 p.m. (Live on NHL Network)