Montreal Canadiens Prospects In Trouble 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) /

Three Montreal Canadiens prospects are participating in this year’s Memorial Cup tournament. Unfortunately, it hasn’t really gone well for any of them yet.

Arber Xhekaj and Jan Mysak are at the event representing the OHL champion Hamilton Bulldogs. They lost their first game to the host Saint John Sea Dogs and lost again in regulation last night to the QMJHL champion Shawinigan Cataractes.

This puts this in last place after everyone has played two games. The Bulldogs have zero points and now face a must-win situation in their final game of the round robin tonight. They will face off against the WHL champion Edmonton Oil Kings.

The Oil Kings are led by Canadiens prospect Kaiden Guhle on the blue line. They also lost their opening game to the Cataractes, but bounced back for a dramatic win in Game 2 against the Sea Dogs. It was a thrilling overtime game, with Jaxsen Wiebe completing a hat trick in overtime to give the Oil Kings life.

Now, the Oil Kings have to fend off the Bulldogs. Tonight’s game will essentially act as a tiebreaker game with the winner advancing to the semifinal and the loser is going to be eliminated from the competition. That’s not quite how these two powerhouse CHL teams expected things to go, but the QMJHL squads have been surprisingly dominant so far.

Shawinigan’s top line of Mavrik Bourque, Xavier Bourgault and Oliver Nadeau gets most of the attention for their team. However, they have proven to be a much better defensive team than anyone gave them credit for heading into this tournament.

Bourque and Bourgault did each have three points, but the Cataractes were able to slow down the Bulldogs powerful offence. Mason McTavish scored an early 5-on-3 goal for the Bulldogs, answered quickly with a pair of their own power play goals to take a 2-1 lead.

Avery Hayes tied the game late in the second period, but the Cataractes power play clicked for a third time in the third period with Nadeau scoring the game’s winning goal.

Jan Mysak, though he was held scoreless, played well and had several chances in the game. He was named the game’s third star for his efforts. Xhekaj was also held scoreless but played a ton of minutes for the Bulldogs on the blue line.

Both players are going to have to be even better if Hamilton is going to extend their season beyond tonight. They will face Guhle and the Oil Kings at 6:00 PM EST on TSN.

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