By: Bryan Thiel
On Sunday night the Canadian Hockey League season wrapped up in dramatic fashion.
The Ontario Hockey League champion Erie Otters and the host Windsor Spitfires were the last two teams standing in the hunt for the MasterCard Memorial Cup. It was the sixth time that the two had met this year, with four of those matchups coming in the OHL’s regular season, and the fifth deciding which of the two would get a bye to the final game.
While there was little doubt after two periods who would come away with that first matchup (Windsor led 3-0 after two), the teams traded goals throughout, entering the third tied 3-3 before Aaron Luchuk scored the clincher five minutes into the final frame.
After the final buzzer, emotions poured out and story-lines started to emerge. There was the obvious elation of the home-town team, bounced after seven hard-fought, first round games in their league’s playoffs redeeming themselves. There was disappointment for the Erie Otters, who surrounded the graduating Dylan Strome, their captain, as the Spitfires celebrated their championship in a heartfelt moment. The Otters also dealt with the ugliness of an emotional, stick-throwing outburst from goaltender Troy Timpano.
And then there was…a conversation. Continue reading
By: Bryan Thiel
The London Knights have crushed everyone in their path en route to the 2016 Mastercard Memorial Cup final.
Outside of an early stumble in the first round of the OHL playoffs against the Owen Sound Attack, the Knights have been dominant from start to finish: they’ve now won 16-straight games (13 in the OHL playoffs and three at the Memorial Cup), Mitch Marner is riding a 19-game point streak (44 points in the OHL playoffs and an astonishing 13 at the Memorial Cup), and just two of their last 12 games have been decided by one goal (Games 3 and 4 vs Niagara).
By all accounts, this team has earned every bit of rest they’ve received between the final horn of their 5-2 win over Rouyn-Noranda and the 4:30 puck drop of Sunday’s final (against those same Huskies).
While there’s no real reason to doubt the team that has scored a combined 423 goals this season, there is always one question that pops up whenever a team goes 3-0 in the round robin portion of the Memorial Cup: is the rest really beneficial?
It’s fair to wonder how rest can help or hurt a squad, even if it’s one that has outscored opponents 20-5 and features a player four points away from setting a new tournament record. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the last five OHL teams to go 3-0 in the round robin have fared.