by PuckStopsHere on 05/28/13 at 12:23 AM ET
The Memorial Cup was completed yesterday in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Four teams participate. The Western Hockey League champion Portland Winter Hawks, Ontario Hockey League champion London Knights, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Halifax Mooseheads and the host Saskatoon Blades. Saskatoon was a first round playoff loser in the WHL and as a result might be overmatched in the tournament.
The four teams played a round robin with little solved. Portland and Halifax had 2-1 records and London and Saskatoon had 1-2 records. Halifax won the tie-breaker with Portland by having a better +/- in part because Halifax had a dominant win - 9-2 against London. This placed Halifax in the final. Portland in the semi-final and Saskatoon played London in a tie-breaker to get to the semi-final. London dominated against Saskatoon in the tie-breaker with a 6-1 win. Portland squeaked out a 2-1 win in the semi-final. Halifax led all the way in the final and won 6-4 with Nathan MacKinnon (2013 draft eligible) scoring a hat trick and adding two assists.
Here is a closer look at all the teams in the tournament:
4. Saskatoon Blades. This team was held to only ten goals in the tournament. They had few offensive stars. Josh Nicholls (Toronto prospect) was the only player on the team with more than two points (he had six). Andrey Makarov (Buffalo prospect) was their goalie. For the most part this team was outclassed, which is one problem with the Memorial Cup format. The host team is often the weakest in the tournament. It can be worse when a team that is outclassed in their home league and only gets in the tournament by hosting it beats the much more qualified teams.
3. London Knights. Seth Griffith (Boston prospect) led the team with six points. Bo Horvat (2013 draft eligible) was close behind with five points. Jake Patterson (2013 draft eligible) was their top goalie.
2. Portland Winter Hawks. Ty Rattie (St Louis prospect) led this team with 12 points. Nicolas Petan (2013 draft eligible) followed with 10 points. Derrick Pouliot (Pittsburgh prospect) led their defence. Potential first overall draft pick Seth Jones was held to four points. Mac Carruth (Chicago prospect) was their goalie. Portland faced sanctions this fall for violating compensation rules in the WHL, so there is some reason to wonder if they cheated the rules to make the Memorial Cup. No clear statement was ever given by the league to explain exactly what Portland was punished for.
1. Halifax Mooseheads. Nathan MacKinnon (2013 draft eligible) was the star of the tournament with 13 points. Martin Frk (Detroit prospect) and Jonathan Drouin (2013 draft eligible) also scored well. Konrad Abeltshauser (San Jose prospect) led their defence. Zachary Fucale (2013 draft eligible) was their goaltender.
Nathan MacKinnon was named MVP and won top scorer in the tournament. Bo Horvat was named the most sportsmanlike player in the tournament. Andrey Makarov was named the top goalie in the tournament. The tournament All Star Team consisted of Zachary Fucale, Konrad Abeltshauser, Derrick Pouliot, Nathan MacKinnon, Martin Frk and Ty Rattie. It is always odd when one goalie is named the top goalie in the tournament and another makes the All Star team. I am not sure how to make sense of that. It isn't the first time that has happened in the Memorial Cup.
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