MONTREAL, QC—At the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament in Saskatoon, the long weekend came to its conclusion and all four participating teams came out of it with an identical record, each recording one win and one loss.
The two teams both looking to erase the memory of their respective recent losses go head-to-head tonight: the Halifax Mooseheads take on the London Knights at 8:00 p.m. EST.
The Knights took the tournament’s opening game by the score of 3-2, at the expense of their hosts, the Saskatoon Blades. Brett Welychka, Seth Griffith and Nikita Zadorov got on the board for the OHL champions.
The following night, Nathan MacKinnon recorded a hat trick on the way to a 7-4 win over the Portland Winterhawks. Halifax was down 3-1 in the early moments of the second frame, only to power through and outlast their opponents. However, the following night, Saskatoon bounced back from their earlier letdown and handed the Mooseheads their first loss of the postseason. For this, they recruited the help of Canadiens’ prospect Darren Dietz, who scored his first goal of the tournament. Matej Stransky scored twice, and the 2-0 score held for most of the game. Another important key was that Blades’ goaltender Andrey Makarov was able to shut down the extremely potent Halifax offense, limiting the Drouins, Frks, MacKinnons & Co. to two goals on 31 shots.
London will be playing their second game in as many nights as last night, they were unable to successfully complete their comeback against Portland and fell 6-3. Far from alien to the “down, but not out” motto this season, they found themselves down by three goals at the mid-mark of the game and took a little over two minutes narrowing the gap to one goal from there. When Alex Broadhurst tied the game at 3, the momentum switched gears—to the Knights’ opponents. Not long after, Portland put their power play to work, as Derrick Pouliot found the back of the net on the man advantage, and twenty seconds after that, the Winterhawks had a two-goal lead all over again. Ty Rattie added an empty-netter, and that was all she wrote.
Both London and Halifax are looking to avoid the dreaded tie-breaker game and opt for the semi-finals instead with a win tonight. Meanwhile, the Blades take on the Winterhawks on Wednesday night. The team with the best record earns an automatic berth to the finals on Sunday while the remaining teams either get automatically eliminated or duke it out on Thursday for the tiebreaker, then Friday in the semis.