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Lauko's Own Quest for the Cup

The Bruins forward prospect will play for the Memorial Cup on Saturday

by Riley Nelson @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

BostonBruins.com - While the Bruins prepare for their third Stanley Cup Final apperance in nine years after sweeping the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night, Bruins prospect Jakub Lauko is having success of his own this postseason. His Rouyn-Noranda Huskies defeated the Halifax Mooseheads in six games to capture the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's President's Cup.

"I think it was a pretty tough playoffs," said Lauko. "We had a couple of tough series. I think every series was pretty hard, but I think especially the first one and the finals were pretty hard, pretty tough to play."

The Huskies forward scored 21 goals and tallied 20 assists for 41 points in 44 games during the regular season, which led the rookies on his team, but he seemed to find his stride during the postseason. He led all QMJHL rookies in all scoring categories this postseason with six goals and seven assists for 13 points in 19 games. His plus-10 rating was tied for sixth on the team and tied for fourth among forwards.

"I think I enjoyed the playoffs the most," said Lauko. "I think I played the best hockey during the [postseason], and it was a good run over those two months. We played really good, and I think it was really enjoyable…it's just good that we won, and I really enjoyed the run, and now it's just finish the job at the [Memorial] Cup."

Video: BOS@WSH: Lauko exits penalty box, finishes breakaway

The Huskies face off against the Ontario Hockey League champion Guelph Storm on Saturday at the Canadian Hockey League championship tournament in Halifax. While the taste of the QMJHL victory still lingers, the team knows they face a tough road ahead to win the ultimate prize.

"I expect it to be the toughest game so far because it's the end of the season and everyone's not going to have a lot of strength," said Lauko. "We will be exhausted, but I hope we will manage it out."

The tournament host Halifax Mooseheads, who were dispatched by Lauko's team in the QMJHL finals, will square off against Western Hockey League champs Prince Albert Raiders on Friday.

This is the 19-year-old's first season playing in the Q. He was drafted in the third round (77th overall) by the Bruins in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. He played in two preseason games for the B's in September, scoring a goal in each game. Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney inked him to a three-year, entry-level contract on September 28 before assigning him to his new team.

The Prague, Czech Republic, native has enjoyed his first season playing in North America, but a new country also means adjustments to be made.

"It's really, really different than I'm used to playing," said Lauko. "It was all about the tactics and some strategies made before the game, so not a lot of skating. So when I came here, I found out it's pretty, pretty fast hockey, like a lot of pace, a lot of forechecking and everything like that, so I think still after one season I [haven't really] gotten used to that. It's much better than it was."

Video: WSH@BOS: Lauko opens scoring with second-chance goal

The 6-foot-1, 179-pound forward credits his coaches for helping him through this adjustment period and guiding him to adapt to the North American style of play.

"I think the coaches try to [teach] me a lot of things during the season like how to kind of adapt to the North American, Q style of hockey," said Lauko, "So I learned what I was supposed to do on a smaller rink, and how to manage it down with the small rink."

Even though Lauko has been nonstop with his own postseason run these past few months, he has found ways to keep tabs on the Bruins' success, even if living in Quebec makes watching the games in real time difficult, by watching highlights and always reviewing the game reports.

And Lauko has one simple message for his future team: "I just hope they're going to win the Cup. I wish them the best of luck."

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