The 2009 Memorial Cup teams are set and one Kings prospect is still alive.
Andrei Loktionov, the Kings 5th round choice, 123rd overall, in 2008, helped the Windsor Spitfires advance to the Memorial Cup with a 4-1 series win over the Brampton Battalion to win the Ontario Hockey League Championship. Loktionov and the Spitfires will begin play at the four-team round robin tournament on May 15. The Spitfires are joined by the Kelowna Rockets, who won the Western Hockey League championship, after defeating Kings goaltending prospect Martin Jones and the Calgary Hitmen 3-2 in overtime on May 9, for a 4-2 series win. Also participating in the tournament will be the host Rimouski Oceanic, of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, as well as the winner of the QMJHL championship, the Drummondville Voltigeurs, who defeated the Shawinigan Cataractes by a 3-2 score at the Marcel Dionne Center in Quebec, for their first President's Cup title.
"Loktionov has had a great playoff, he is second in the league in playoff scoring," said Nelson Emerson, the Kings Coordinator of Player Development/Systems Integration. "The most important thing is that he realizes how important this Memorial Cup is, to go there and to play well, to play the same way he has been playing all year and to not go back a step, to take his game to this place and show people how special his year has been for him."
Loktionov and the Spitfires secured the OHL championship on the strength of an OT goal by OHL-leading scorer Taylor Hall for a 2-1 win and a 4-1 series win over the Brampton Battalion on May 6. Loktionov earned an assist on the first goal of the deciding game, scored by Windsor, a power-play marker by his linemate Dale Mitchell. The helper lifted Loktionov's totals to 5-4=9 with three game-winning goals in the five-game championship series and to 11-22=33 in 20 postseason games overall, second in the OHL. His teammate, Hall, leads the OHL with 16-20=36.
"You know, he is loved by his teammates, by the fans, by the coaches...they call him Jimmy Neutron, after that cartoon (Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius) about the smartest kid in the world," Emerson said. "He comes up with what seems like magic, he is just a marvel on the ice."
"The fans started that because he’s such a smart player on the ice,” Loktionov's teammate Mitchell told the Windsor Star. "They put the comparison together with the cartoon."
'Jimmy Neutron' certainly had a fantastic championship series, helping the Spitfires to just the second OHL Championship in franchise history and the first in 21 years.
In Game No. 4, a 4-1 win, Loktionov scored twice in the third period, including the game-winning goal, for a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. In Game No. 3, he tallied an assist on one of Hall's goals in a 4-2 loss on May 4. In Game No. 2, Loktionov scored the game-wining goal and added an assist in Windsor's 5-3 win on May 1, and in the series opener on April 29, Windsor throttled Brampton, 10-1, with Loktionov scoring twice - including what turned out to be the game winner - and added an assist earning Second Star honors.
During the regular season, Loktionov ranked fourth amongst OHL rookies, scoring 24-42=68 in 51 games.
"He’s come a long way," Emerson said. "When we told him he was going to Windsor, it would be an awesome experience, but a huge change coming from Russia and just thrown into this city he knows nothing about, on this team he knows nothing about, in this league he knows nothing about.
"His progression this year has been awesome. He has just gradually gotten better."
|MEMORIAL CUP SCHEDULE |
|DATE ||GAME ||TIME* |
|Friday, May 15 ||Preview Show ||3 p.m. PT |
| ||Rimouski vs. Kelowna ||4 p.m. PT |
|Saturday, May 16 ||Drummondville vs. Windsor ||1:30 p.m. PT |
|Sunday, May 17 ||Rimouski vs. Windsor ||1:30 p.m. PT |
|Monday, May 18 ||Drummondville vs. Kelowna ||4 p.m. PT |
|Tuesday, May 19 ||Windsor vs. Kelowna ||4 p.m. PT |
|Wednesday, May 20 ||Rimouski vs. Drummondville ||4 p.m. PT |
|Thursday, May 21 ||Tiebreaker (if nec.) ||4 p.m. PT |
|Friday, May 22 ||Semifinal: Second place vs. Third place ||4 p.m. PT |
|Sunday, May 24 ||Final: First place vs. semifinal winner ||1:30 p.m. PT |
|*All games will be televised on NHL Network. |