Montreal Canadiens Prospects Jan Mysak, Arber Xhekaj Fall in Game 1 at Memorial Cup

HAMILTON, ONTARIO - MARCH 14: Arber Xhekaj. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)
HAMILTON, ONTARIO - MARCH 14: Arber Xhekaj. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images) /

The Montreal Canadiens are gearing up for the 2022 NHL Draft. They host the event on July 7th – 8th and also hold the first overall pick as well as 13 other selections in the seven round event.

While the team is busy preparing to add more than a dozen new prospects into the system next month, a trio of their current prospects are taking part in the Memorial Cup tournament.

The Memorial Cup is the crown jewel of Canadian Junior hockey. It is a four team event that puts the three Junior league champions as well as a host team against one another for Junior hockey supremacy.

The Canadiens have three prospects at the event, with Jan Mysak and Arber Xhekaj earning their trip by winning an OHL championship with the Hamilton Bulldogs. Kaiden Guhle is also playing for the Memorial Cup with the Edmonton Oil Kings who won the WHL trophy.

Mysak and Xhekaj played the tournament opener last night but were on the wrong end of a 5-3 score. The Bulldogs only booked their ticket to the event five days ago when they won Game 7 of the OHL Final against the Windsor Spitfires.

Their opponent, the host Saint John Sea Dogs, had quite a lengthy rest leading up to the tournament beginning. They lost in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs against the Rimouski Oceanic and had 39 days off before facing the Bulldogs.

The Sea Dogs didn’t look rusty at all as they were firing on all cylinders from the drop of the puck. They jumped out to a 2-1 lead after the first period and then stretched that lead to 4-1 after 40 minutes of play.

Mysak was held off the scoresheet on the night, but Xhekaj did get an assist on the Bulldogs third goal which pulled them within one late in the third period.

The puck came to him at the blue line right off a face-off. The Habs prospects back-pedalled a bit and then moved to the middle of the ice before finding a teammate along the wall with a quick saucer pass. Shortly after that, the puck was on and off the tape of Ryan Winterton who fired home his second goal of the game.

The Bulldogs were given some life off that goal, but the Sea Dogs added an empty netter that would give them a 5-3 victory. That puts the Bulldogs behind the 8-ball in this tournament and they will need a victory in one of their next two games to advance to the elimination round.

Hamilton is off for the next two days before taking on the Shawinigan Cataractes on Thursday night and then the Edmonton Oil Kings on Friday. Both of those games will start at 6:00 PM EST and can be seen on TSN.

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