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Memorial Cup: What we learned

Canadiens prospect Suzuki stars in Guelph win; Prince Albert eliminated

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

The Memorial Cup, a four-team round-robin tournament to determine the champion of the Canadian Hockey League, features the winners of the Ontario Hockey League (Guelph Storm), Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies) and Western Hockey League (Prince Albert Raiders), and the host Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. The event is being held at Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, from May 17-26, and features several NHL-drafted prospects and some eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft.

In the fifth game of the Memorial Cup, Guelph defeated Prince Albert 5-2 on Tuesday.

Here are three things we learned on the fifth day:

 

1. Suzuki strikes

Guelph center Nick Suzuki, a Montreal Canadiens prospect who was chosen No. 13 in the 2017 NHL Draft by the Vegas Golden Knights, had two goals and one assist against Prince Albert. He scored off a rush down the middle of the ice 5:02 into the second to give the Storm a 4-2 lead, and got his second goal 6:42 into the third on a shot just inside the left post to make it 5-2.

Suzuki, who led the OHL with 42 points (16 goals, 26 assists) in 24 playoff games, has five points (three goals, two assists) in three Memorial Cup Games. He was part of the trade package sent to the Canadiens for forward Max Pacioretty on Sept. 10.

"Prince Albert did a good job of taking away time and space in the first period, but the momentum of the game went in our favor after that," Suzuki said. "Everyone was working in the second period (when Guelph held an 8-4 advantage in shots on goal), which was our best period of the tournament, and we want to keep building on that."

Suzuki finished 11th in the OHL with 94 points (34 goals, 60 assists) and was third with 10 game-winning goals in 59 regular-season games.

 

2. Durzi dazzles on offense

Guelph defenseman Sean Durzi (Los Angeles Kings), chosen in the second round (No. 52) of the 2018 NHL Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, had two assists and leads the Memorial Cup with seven points (two goals, five assists) in three games.

Durzi has 15 points (two goals, 13 assists) during an eight-game point streak since Game 2 of the OHL championship series against Ottawa.

He had the secondary assist on a goal by Isaac Ratcliffe (Philadelphia Flyers) at 15:18 of the first period to give Guelph a 2-1 lead and the secondary assist on the goal by Suzuki at 5:02 of the second period that made it 4-2.

The 20-year-old was traded twice this season. The Maple Leafs included him in the package sent to the Kings for defenseman Jake Muzzin on Jan. 28. That followed a Jan. 4 trade that sent him from Owen Sound to Guelph. The Kings signed Durzi to a three-year, entry-level contract on April 1.

Durzi (6-foot, 188 pounds) has 53 points (eight goals, 45 assists) in 57 playoff games during his four seasons in the OHL.

 

3. Raiders eliminated

Prince Albert, the No. 1 ranked team in the CHL for most of the season, lost its third straight game and was eliminated from the tournament.

The Raiders returned to the Memorial Cup for the first time in 34 years after finishing with the most wins (54-10-4) and goals (307) in the regular season before winning the WHL championship in a seven-game series against the Vancouver Giants. The WHL championship team hasn't won a round-robin game in the Memorial Cup since 2015.

Prince Albert averaged 4.51 goals per game and scored one or fewer goals four times in 68 regular-season games, but averaged 3.11 goals and scored one or fewer goals six times in 26 WHL/Memorial Cup playoff games.

Center Noah Gregor was a bright spot for Prince Albert. The fourth-round pick (No. 111) in the 2016 NHL Draft by the San Jose Sharks had one assist against Guelph, and five points (two goals, three assists) in three Memorial Cup games.

 

2019 Memorial Cup schedule and results

May 17: Halifax 4, Prince Albert 1

May 18: Guelph 5, Rouyn-Noranda 2

May 19: Halifax 4, Guelph 2

May 20: Rouyn-Noranda 6, Prince Albert 3

May 21: Guelph 5, Prince Albert 2

May 22: Halifax vs. Rouyn-Noranda (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVAS)

May 23: Tiebreaker, if necessary (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVAS)

May 24: Semifinal (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVAS)

May 26: Final (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVAS)

 

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