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In the System: Memorial Cup Caps Junior Season

by Nikki Stoudt @NikkiStoudt / CarolinaHurricanes.com

Four Carolina Hurricanes prospects appeared in the Mastercard Memorial Cup, which was hosted by the Windsor Spitfires in Windsor, Ontario, from May 19-28.

In case you missed it …

Tweet from @NHLCanes: [In the System] #Canes prospects @FoegDaddy96, @ju_gauth12, @ssmallman96 & @cjboothy head to the @MCMemorialCup: https://t.co/TPLbVLLZE4 pic.twitter.com/Qd6FmH9YtM

Fresh off their Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) championship win, the Saint John Sea Dogs kicked off the race to the Memorial Cup in a clash with the Spitfires. While Windsor eventually took the 3-2 win, netminder Callum Booth took the chance to show off some stellar 'tending.

Tweet from @CHLHockey: WATCH THIS: @CanadiensMTL prospect @addy1zero scores the opening goal of the 2017 #MCMemorialCup as host @SpitsHockey take 1-0 lead in first pic.twitter.com/rGy5ztthh5

Dogs forward Julien Gauthier picked up a secondary assist on Thomas Chobot's goal to pull Saint John within one, but it wasn't enough as the Sea Dogs dropped Game 1. 

Prospect Warren Foegele and the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) champion Erie Otters faced off the Seattle Thunderbirds in Game 2 of the tournament. Foegele earned an assist on the first goal of the game, feeding teammate and Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat the opportunity for this shot:

Tweet from @Sportsnet: #Otters star Alex DeBrincat breaks the scoreless tie midway through the second. Watch this game live now on SNNow.ca. #MCMemorialCup pic.twitter.com/piQ9FpLcxg

Foegele and the Otters topped the Thunderbirds 4-2 and moved on to Game 4 to take on Spencer Smallman, Gauthier, Booth and the Saint John Sea Dogs. 

And, boy, was it something. Seven goals were scored in the first period, and the Otters left the ice after the first 20 minutes leading 5-2. 

Tweet from @CHLHockey: WATCH THIS: 7G 1st period at #MCMemorialCup featuring 5 @ErieOtters T & D Raddysh, Maksimovich, Strome, Cirelli, Pare & Joseph @SJSeaDogs: pic.twitter.com/h0kIdbyBaV

The second and third periods were comparatively tamer - only five goals were registered in each.

Foegele totaled two assists, marking his eighth multi-point game of the postseason (8g, 12a), while Smallman and Gauthier tallied a goal apiece.

Check out Smallman's second-period goal at the 52 second mark of this video:

Tweet from @CHLHockey: WATCH THIS: @ErieOtters make it 9-3 vs @SJSeaDogs at #MCMemorialCup w/ 2nd period goals by T/D Raddysh, Strome, DeBrincat, Smallman for SNB: pic.twitter.com/lIiZV31Kek

The Otters won Game 4 in a 12-5 rout. Twelve. A combined 17 goals.

Yeah, those are records.

Tweet from @CHLHockey: WATCH THIS: All. Time. Highs. @ArizonaCoyotes prospect @stromer19 gets #MCMemorialCup record 7th point as @ErieOtters score record 12th goal pic.twitter.com/9auW3RkBEi

The loss put the Sea Dogs in a must-win situation going into Game 5, and they were looking to rebound with a vengeance. 

After being pulled in the first period of Game 4, Booth returned as the starter for Saint John. It was a good choice. 

Booth stopped all 31 shots he faced, leading the Dogs to a 7-0 shutout over Seattle. This tournament is the definition of "goals on goals on goals." 

His celly game is strong.

Tweet from @NHLCanes: #Canes prospect @cjboothy also recorded the 31-save shutout as the @SJSeaDogs moved on to the #MCMemorialCup semifinals. #Redvolution pic.twitter.com/1ur2IB1V4o

Oh, Gauthier (0g, 1a) and Captain Smallman (1g, 1a) helped, too. 

Tweet from @NHLCanes: [WATCH] #Canes prospect @ju_gauth12 (1a) set up @ssmallman96 (1g, 1a) in Tuesday's 7-0 @SJSeaDogs win. #Redvolution #MCMemorialCup pic.twitter.com/WqQnmcDAwl

Smallman's two points marked his fifth multi-point game of the postseason; he totaled 10 goals and three assists in those games.

The win sent the Sea Dogs to the semifinals to face the loser of the Erie-Windsor matchup the next day.

The Otters looked to continue their two-game win streak against the undefeated Spitfires and advance to the semifinals as the only remaining perfect Memorial Cup team. 

Two first-period goals from Windsor killed the momentum, ultimately leading to a 4-2 Spitfire win. The loss wasn't enough to send the Otters packing, so it was back to the circle with Saint John. 

The Otters and Dogs exchanged two goals apiece through 40 minutes, with Foegele and Smallman netting the primary assists on their respective teams' opening goal, and Gauthier getting a second tally for Saint John late in the second period.

Tweet from @CHLHockey: WATCH THIS: #MCMemorialCup Semi-Final tied 1-1 after 20 courtesy of goals by @DarrenRaddysh of @ErieOtters and @jveleno91 of @SJSeaDogs: pic.twitter.com/bejM8dbbij

Tweet from @CHLHockey: WATCH THIS: #MCMemorialCup Semi-Final tied 2-2 after 40 with latest goals from @Raddy1998 of @ErieOtters and @ju_gauth12 of @SJSeaDogs: pic.twitter.com/dJxmtrcqKI

It was a four-goal third period that put the Otters over the top, defeating Smallman, Gauthier, Booth and the Sea Dogs 6-3, with the sixth and final Otters' goal notched by FoegDaddy himself.

Tweet from @ErieOtters: FOEGELE SCORES. EMPTY NET. 6-3!

The loss sent Saint John home empty-handed, but it also marked the beginning of a new chapter for some.

Tweet from @ju_gauth12: Past 4 years went way to fast, I met incredible people. Thanks to hockey Canada and the CHL for the awesome memories, Junior career is over.

With the win, the Otters had one final push to the Memorial Cup, squaring off with the still undefeated Windsor Spitfires in the final.

The Spitfires struck first, but the Otters quickly (roughly 50 seconds later) tied it up. Foegele opened scoring in the second period with a power-play goal.

Tweet from @CHLHockey: WATCH THIS: @FoegDaddy96 & @TFergus19 @ErieOtters, @loganstanley_17 & @grahamknott13 @SpitsHockey highlight 2nd period #MCMemorialCup Final: pic.twitter.com/LP1xSwXIGA

Less than a minute later, the two teams were knotted again at two. Then again at three. 

Windsor's game-winning goal came 5:07 into the third period. A series of shots hit the goal post as Erie made a late push, but they couldn't find the equalizer.

Though Foegele, Smallman, Gauthier and Booth couldn't cap their seasons off with a Memorial Cup victory, championships in their respective junior leagues are worthy accomplishments.

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