The Memorial Cup gets rolling
MONTREAL – The elite juniors of the hockey world get set to battle for the 94th annual Memorial Cup.
When the clash for the Memorial Cup kicks off on Thursday in Shawinigan, Canadiens fans can look forward to seeing their team’s prospects solidly represented at the event. In total, the Habs will have four hopefuls lacing up to vie for the Cup in the annual tournament that dates all the way back to 1919.
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Not only will the Shawiningan Cataractes being playing host to this year’s edition of the tournament, but they also boast two Canadiens prospects in their lineup. Both, defenseman Morgan Ellis, drafted 117th overall in 2010, and forward Michael Bournival, acquired in the trade that sent Ryan O’Byrne to Colorado in 2010, will be donning Cataractes’ jerseys in a bid to add Memorial Cup honors to their hockey resumes.
While his run to a QMJHL title may have been stopped short in the second round of the playoffs, Ellis still managed to put up some impressive numbers. Acquired by the Cataractes from the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles at the trade deadline, the 20-year-old defenseman logged 11 points in as many playoff games with his new team, posting a plus-14 differential.
For his part, Bournival will be looking to use the Memorial Cup to rebound after registering one goal and six assists in the playoffs. The Cataractes’ captain will be in action on Friday when Shawinigan opens up their tournament against the Edmonton Oil Kings.
The other QMJHL team in the hunt to take the tournament’s top honors will be the St. John Sea Dogs – recent winners of the President’s Cup. With a powerful arsenal of forwards on tap, the Sea Dogs experienced only a single loss in their march though the playoffs, sweeping every team they faced with the exception of the Chicoutimi Saguenéens. The Memorial Cup defending champs, notably led by defenseman Nathan Beaulieu – the Canadiens 17th overall, first-round pick in 2011 – will be looking to repeat in 2012. Beaulieu put up 15 points in 17 playoff games with the Sea Dogs, finishing with a sparkling plus-27 differential.
Rounding out the Canadiens’ prospects is blue-liner Jarred Tinordi, the Habs 22nd overall, first-round pick in 2010, who will be skating for the OHL’s London Knights. Known for his defensive style of play, Tinordi still managed to register three goals and five assists over the course of the OHL playoffs, finishing with a plus-15 differential.
The only team taking part in the Memorial Cup tournament that isn’t boasting a Habs hopeful is the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings. They’ll kick things off with a tilt against the Cataractes on Friday night.