BostonBruins.com – Bruins prospect Jared Knight and the OHL champion London Knights opened up Memorial Cup play this weekend with games against the Saint John Sea Dogs and Shawinigan Cataractes.
On Saturday, Knight recorded one assist in his team’s 5-3 victory over the defending Memorial Cup champion Saint John Sea Dogs. The 5’10”, 185-pound wing was the 32nd overall pick for the Bruins in 2010 and is an alternate captain for the Knights. Following the game, he expressed what the win meant for the team.
“This is huge, I mean especially against Saint John, but it’s just one game,” he told mastercardmemorialcup.ca. “We have to stay focused and stick to our game plan.”
The Sea Dogs came into the tournament as the heavy favorites due to their arsenal of NHL talent, including Florida Panthers prospect Jonathan Huberdeau. The 2011 3rd overall pick did notch one goal in the game, but appeared frustrated by the physical play of the Knights. Huberdeau was called for two penalties and accounted for six of his team’s 22 penalty minutes.
London could not capitalize on the power play however, going 1-8 and giving up two shorthanded goals. Despite this, the Knights controlled the pace of the game and out-hustled the Sea Dogs in all three periods. Knight pointed to his team’s depth as a major factor in the win.
“We have four lines that can really stick it to teams,” he said. “If one line’s not scoring, we have three other [lines] that can do it.”
On Sunday, London fell 6-2 to the Shawinigan Cataractes, the host team for this year’s Memorial Cup. The Cats offense was in full force early as they outshot the Knights 14-6 in the first period and 33-26 for the game.
Defenseman Brandon Gormley, the 13th overall pick in 2010 by the Phoenix Coyotes, led Shawinigan with two goals and one assist. Captain Michael Bournival, a Canadiens prospect, was named the game’s first star for his one goal, one assist performance.
London was not without its own scoring chances, but failed to convert, especially on the power play, going 1-6 and giving up another shorthanded goal. Knight had a few opportunities himself, striking the crossbar on a hard slap shot early in the third period. Off the miss, Shawinigan’s Pierre Olivier Morin carried the puck into the Knights’ zone and beat goaltender Michael Houser on a top-corner wrist shot. Knight hit the post again later in the third, but finished the game without a point.
Next, London will play the WHL champion Edmonton Oil Kings on Tuesday, May 22 at 7 pm in their final round-robin game. The Oil Kings won their opening game 4-3 against Shawinigan on Friday.
Notes: At the conclusion of round-robin play, the team with the best record will receive a bye to the finals, the team with the worst record will be eliminated, and the two other teams will play in the semifinal game on Friday, May 25 at 7 pm...If there is a tie for third place record-wise, a tie-breaker game will be played on Thursday, May 24. If there is a tie for first place record-wise, the team with the greater goal differential (goals scored minus goals allowed) will receive the bye to the championship game...London can advance to the semifinals with a win over Edmonton or with two losses by Saint John. They can also receive a bye if they defeat Edmonton and finish play with the greatest goal differential...The Memorial Cup Championship Game will be held on Sunday, May 27, at 7 pm.
--- Travis Basciotta