The St. Louis Blues pro players are all done for the season and heading off for their offseason plans. That is not true for two of their young prospects as high-pressure games remain.
The St. Louis Blues are all done for the 2017-18 hockey season. The World Championships are over and the AHL playoffs continue on without any of the Blues minor league guys. That said, the days of suiting up and lacing the skates are not done for everyone in the Blues organization.
The Memorial Cup is one of the more prestigious trophies in North America. It has been awarded to the junior champion of Canada, in some form or the other, since 1919.
It was originally called the OHA (Ontario Hockey Association) Memorial Cup and was designated that to honor fallen soldiers from World War I. It was renamed in 2010 to recognize Canadian soldiers that died in any conflict.
From the cup’s inception until 1971, it featured a format of league play and then provincial playoffs followed by regional playoffs. The championship would be decided in an east against west final.
In 1972, they went to the current format which features three regional league champions along with a fourth team, usually the host.
They play round-robin group play and then square off in knockout games after that.
The round-robin games are already under way and the Blues prospects are doing well. Fitzpatrick’s Acadie-Bathurst is undefeated and Thomas’ Hamilton is 1-1.
The Titan beat Swift Current (WHL champs) 4-3 in OT on May 19. They then took down Regina by a score of 8-6 on May 20.
No goalie wants to give up 6 goals, but Fitzpatrick still made 32 saves on 38 shots in that game. It hurt his stats though as he has a 4.39 GAA and .862 save percentage. Of course, Fitzpatrick has the last laugh right now as his team is the only undefeated one.
Conversely, Hamilton was upset in their first game. They lost to Regina, 3-2, on May 18 in the tournament opener. The hometown fans had to be going crazy for that one. Hamilton rebounded with a solid 2-1 win on May 21.
Surprisingly Thomas has struggled at the Memorial Cup. He had one assist in four games with London. Now, he has one goal in two games with Hamilton.
Sadly, Thomas’ goal came in the losing effort. He scored the first goal of the game, just over seven minutes in, but the Bulldogs could not hold the lead.
May 22 will see both Blues prospects play the other in their final group stage game. Given the way the Titan and Bulldogs have played, it could be a preview of the title game.
With championships already in their trophy cases, there is little to lose for both of these kids. As fans, we’d like better stats for both, but as long as they are winning, you take everything with a grain of salt in tournament play.
Personally, I’m pulling for the Bulldogs a little more just because the OHL style is more up my alley. If Acadie-Bathurst managed to win it all, I would not complain either though.
It would be nice for these kids to come into camp with a little to brag about.