With the Moncton Wildcats clinching the QMJHL Championship in 6 games over the St. John Seadogs last night. The field for this year's CHL Memorial Cup is now set as the Windsor Spitfires will be looking to defend the title that they won last year in Rimouski, QC.
As always, they will have a strong contenders to deal with as the Calgary Hitmen were able to get over the hump after losing last year's WHL Championship to the Kelowna Rockets.
The Moncton Wildcats got to the Memorial Cup with players like Gabriel Bourque with a playoff leading 19 goals.
A strong goaltending performance by Nicola Riopel that was able to stop the Seadogs power forwards like Micheal Kirkpatrick, Stanislav Galiev and Nichols Petersen as the Seadogs only lossed once against P.E.I., and twice against Victoriaville in the Semifinals. The Seadogs also pulled off a sweep against Gatineau in the Quarterfinals.
Windsor as the defending Memorial Cup Champions goes in as favorites with players like Adam Henrique who's been the rising star for the Spitfires along with players like Hall & Fowler. Henrique tied for the playoff scoring lead with Kitchener's Jeff Skinner with 20 goals and would easily be the leading player on just about any other team in the Major Juniors.
The big question for the Spitfires could be secondary scoring, after Henrique and Hall, players like Scott Timmins with 11 goals, plus Dale Mitchell and Zach Kassian with 7 each. Goaltending wise, expect Philipp Grubauer as he started in 18 playoff games by going 16-2 with a 2.69 GAA. Windsor may be the comeback kids, but this tournament is much depper and much more talented then when they came-back last year. A slow start could doom the Spitfires hopes of a 2nd straight Memorial Cup Title.
The Brandon Wheat Kings are looking to make 3 WHL Host Teams in a row to win the Memorial Cup. Kelowna in 2004 and Vancouver in 2007 each won the Memorial Cup when they host it. Brandon has a great combo of size and speed on where they can go up against anybody. An abundance of forwards like Scott Glennie, Matt Calvert and Brayden Schenn who are all NHL Ready in the next year or two. In all, the Wheat Kings had 8 players that scored 20 or more goals during the regular season.
A trade of Jacob De Serres helped booster the Wheat Kings goaltender position back in October. He's helped trade the net with Wheat Kings veteran Andrew Hayes in the rest of the regular season. When the playoffs started though, Jacob De Serres has played a majority of time in net during the playoffs as the Wheat Kings sweep Swift Current Broncos and beat the Saskatoon Blades in 6 games.
This was before the Calgary Hitmen beat them in 5 games in the Eastern Conference Finals. This may be a part of the strategy to help the Wheat Kings get some rest and help them prepare them for the Memorial Cup at home.
Finally the Calgary Hitmen got to the Memorial Cup by beating the Tri-City Americans in 5 games. Look for Brandon Kozun lead the playoffs with 30 points (Including 22 assists). The concern for the Hitmen is that they have some great set-up men. But can players like Joel Broda and Cody Slyvester get enough help scoring goals in a short format where anything can happen.
Martin Jones is very durable as he has played nearly every minute of the playoffs while posting a 2.36 GAA during the Hitmen's post-season run. Can he keep it up for the Memorial Cup to bring the Hitmen their first Memorial Cup in Team History in their 2nd attempt. Back in 1999, the Hitmen got to the Memorial Cup Final before losing to the Ottawa 67s.
Memorial Cup Format: The 4 teams will play a Round-Robin with the 1st Place Team gaining an automatic spot in the Championship.
After the Round Robin, the 2nd Place Team gets into the Semifinals while the 3rd & 4th place team may play a Tie-Breaker if they is a tie for 3rd place. If not, then the 3rd place team automatically gets into the Semifinals. The Semifinal Winner will move on to the Championship Team against the Top Seed.
In addition to the Memorial Cup, to find more info on this year's tournament. Check out "The Pipeline Show" Memorial Cup Preview show tonight as they will talk with the head coaches of the Memorial Cup Teams. You can listen to the Pipeline Show which is from 8-10 PM on line. If you miss the show live, check out the Media Archive.
Click on "Media Archive", then click on Season 5.5 which from Jan to August of 2010. Then click on the May 11 episode and next weeks episode on May 18 as the tournament goes on. Then find the features you want to listen to as well.
The Pipeline Show Website: www.thepipelineshow.com
Pipeline Show Blog: http://thepipelineshow.blogspot.com
Key Players at the Memorial Cup: http://thepipelineshow.blogspot.com/2010/05/top-5-tuesday-key-players-at-memorial.html
I will also be posting game wrap ups and the Boxscores for the different games. During the Round-Robin, also look for updated standings to determine the matchups for the Tie Breaker, Semifinal and then the Championship game on 5/23.
Here's a look at how the 4 teams reached the Memorial Cup Tournament which begins on Friday.
Brandon Wheat Kings (Tournament Hosts)
Regular Season Record: 50-18-4 104 PTS, 321 GF 204 GA, Finished 2nd in the Eastern Conference
Conference Quarterfinals VS. Swift Current: Game 1 5-2 W, Game 2 5-3 W, Game 3 5-2 W, Game 4 3-2 OTW
Conference Semifinals VS. Saskatoon: Game 1 6-5 W, Game 2 4-1 W, Game 3 4-5 L, Game 4 3-4 L, Game 5 3-2 W, Game 6 5-4 W
Conference Finals VS. Calgary: Game 1 4-2 W, Game 2 2-3 OTL, Game 3 3-6 L, Game 4 3-4 L, Game 5 1-6 L
Brandon Wheat Kings Scoring Leaders
Brayden Schenn 15 GP 19 PTS (8G 11A)
Matt Calvert 15 GP 16 PTS (9G 7A)
Aaron Lewadniuk 15 GP 14 PTS (6G 8A)
Brandon Wheat Kings Goaltending
Jacob De Serres 12 GP 8-4 3.17 GAA .897 SV%
Andrew Hayes 3 GP 1-2 3.37 GAA .880 SV%
Full Brandon Wheat Kings Stats: http://whl.ca/stats/statdisplay.php?type=skaters&season_id=
Brandon Wheat Kings Website: www.wheatkings.com
Calgary Hitmen (WHL Champions)
Regular Season Record: 52-17-3 107 PTS, 269 GF 177 GA, Finished 1st in the East
Conference Quarterfinals VS. Moose Jaw: Game 1 2-4 L, Game 2 1-4 L, Game 3 7-3 W, Game 4 3-4 L, Game 5 5-2 W, Game 6 7-3 W, Game 7 6-2 W
Conference Semifinals VS. Medicine Hat: Game 1 5-2 W, Game 2 4-0 W, Game 3 3-4 OTL, Game 4 4-1 W, Game 5 2-5 L, Game 6 3-2 W
Conference Finals VS. Brandon: Game 1 2-4 L, Game 2 3-2 OTW, Game 3 6-3 W, Game 4 4-3 W, Game 5 6-1 W
WHL Championship VS. Tri-City: Game 1 7-0 W, Game 2 4-1 W, Game 3 4-1 W, Game 4 2-4 L, Game 5 4-1 W
Calgary Hitmen Scoring Leaders
Brandon Kozun 23 GP 30 PTS (8G 22A, +11)
Michael Stone 23 GP 20 PTS (5G 15A, +16)
Misha Fisenko 23 GP 19 PTS (8G 11A, +2)
Calgary Hitmen Goaltending
Martin Jones 23 GP 16-7 2.36 GAA .915 SV%
Full Calgary Hitmen Playoff Stats: http://whl.ca/stats/statdisplay.php?type=skaters&season_id=235
Calgary Hitmen Website: www.hitmenhockey.com/index.asp
Windsor Spitfires (OHL Champions)
Regular Season Record: 50-12-6 106 PTS, 331 GF 203 GA, Finished 1st in the West
Conference Quarterfinals VS. Erie: Game 1 6-2 W, Game 2 3-1 W, Game 3 7-6 W, Game 4 5-1 W
Conference Semifinals VS. Plymouth: Game 1 5-1 W, Game 2 5-3 W, Game 3 5-0 W, Game 4 3-2 OTW
Conference Finals VS. Kitchener: Game 1 6-7 OTL, Game 2 2-5 L, Game 3 3-5 L, Game 4 7-5 W, Game 5 3-0 W, Game 6 6-4 W, Game 7 4-1
OHL Championship VS. Barrie: Game 1 4-3 OTW, Game 2 5-3 W, Game 3 5-2 W, Game 4 6-2 W
Windsor Spitfires Scoring Leaders
Taylor Hall 19 GP 35 PTS (17G 18A, +17)
Ryan Ellis 19 GP 33 PTS (3G 30A, +13)
Adam Henrique 19 GP 25 PTS (20G 5A, +13)
Windsor Spitfires Goaltending
Marvic Parks 10 GP 7-3 2.29 GAA .926 SV%
Peter Di Savo 7 GP 5-2 3.26 GAA .893 SV%
Full Ontario Hockey League Stats: www.ontariohockeyleague.com/stats/statdisplay.php?type=skaters&season_id=41
Windsor Spitfires Website: www.windsorspitfires.com
Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL Champions)
Regular Season Record: 48-14-6 102 PTS, 276 GF 164 GA, Finished 2nd in the Atlantic Division, 5th Overall
Divisional Round VS. Cape Breton: Game 1 6-3 W, Game 2 6-0 W, Game 3 3-2 OTW, Game 4 1-4 L, Game 5 4-0 W
Quarterfinals VS. Rouyn-Nornda: Game 1 6-1 W, Game 2 4-3 OTW, Game 3 7-2 W, Game 4 4-5 OTL, Game 5 3-1 W
Semifinals VS. Drummondville: Game 1 5-3 W, Game 2 5-2 W, Game 3 1-2 OTL, Game 4 4-0 W, Game 5 4-2 W
QMJHL Championship VS. St. John: Game 1 5-1 W, Game 2 9-3 W, Game 3 4-6 L, Game 4 2-3 OTL, Game 5 5-1 W, Game 6 7-4 W
Moncton Wildcats Scoring Leaders
Kelsey Tessier 21 GP 30 PTS (14G 16A, +17)
Gabriel Bourque 21 GP 29 PTS (19G 10A, +19)
Mark Barberio 21 GP 22 PTS (5G 17A, +10)
Moncton Wildcats Goaltending
Nicola Riopel 21 GP 16-4 2.14 GAA .930 SV%
Shane Owen 5 GP 0-1 1.42 GAA .938 SV%
Full Moncton Wildcats Stats: www.lhjmq.qc.ca/lang_en/index.php?page=11194745&typ=pyf&an=0910&v=2&report=PlayersRecordsPerTeam&filter_id=Mon&subfilter_id=
Moncton Wildcats Website: www.moncton-wildcats.com/en-ca/home
Here's the Tournament Schedule which begins on Friday. Just 1 game per day during the Round-Robin which will go from 5/14 to 5/19. The Tie Breaker if needed will be on May 20. Then the Semifinals is on May 21 with the Title Game on 5/23.
5/14: Windsor Spitfires VS. Brandon Wheat Kings 7:00 PM
5/15: Calgary Hitmen VS. Moncton Wildcats 2:00 PM
5/16: Brandon Wheat Kings VS. Moncton Wildcats 2:00 PM
5/17: Calgary Hitmen VS. Windsor Spitfires 7:00 PM
5/18: Moncton Wildcats VS. Windsor Spitfires 7:00 PM
5/19: Brandon Wheat Kings VS. Calgary Hitmen 7:00 PM
5/20: Tie Breaker (If Necessary) 7:00 PM
5/21: Semifinal: 2nd Seed VS. 3rd Seed 7:00 PM
5/23: Championship: #1 Seed VS. SF Winner 2:00 PM
Memorial Cup Tournament Website: www.mastercardmemorialcup.com
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