Montreal Canadiens Prospects Fall In Memorial Cup Final

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 had three prospects playing in the Memorial Cup tournament this year but they came away empty handed.

The Memorial Cup is held every year to crown the top team in Canadian Junior hockey. There is a host team announced in advance and they get an automatic bid and are joined by the league champions from the WHL, OHL and QMJHL.

Kaiden Guhle and the Edmonton Oil Kings won the WHL Championship, while Jan Mysak and Arber Xhekaj played key roles for the Hamilton Bulldogs on their way to an OHL Championship. But they were denied a Memorial Cup.

The Oil Kings were knocked out of the tournament after the round robin. They won one game but it was in overtime so they only had two points in the standings. This left them in last place and eliminated before the semifinal.

The Hamilton Bulldogs, with Xhekaj and Mysak advanced to the semifinal against the Shawinigan Cataractes and eventually won the game in overtime when Mysak tipped in a point shot and sent the Bulldogs to the final.

There, they met the host Saint John Sea Dogs, and they quickly fell behind 2-0 on goals by Vincent Sevigny and Cam MacDonald. Mason McTavish responded before the end of the first period to pull the Bulldogs within one.

However, the Sea Dogs scored two more quick goals early in the second period with Riley Bezaeu and William Dufour pushing their lead to 4-1. Mysak responded for the Bulldogs in the final seconds of the second period to make it a little closer, but the gap was just too wide to make up.

When Josh Lawrence scored for the Sea Dogs in the third period to make it 5-2 the game felt over already. McTavish did score his second of the night to narrow the lead to two with five minutes to play but an empty net goal by Peter Reynolds sealed the victory.

Mysak finished the tournament with two goals in five games and Xhekaj was the top scoring defenceman in the Memorial Cup with five points in five games. Both players will be off to join the Laval Rocket next season.

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