Owen Beck and The Saginaw Spirit Advance To Memorial Cup Final

Owen Beck has a chance to avenge his Memorial Cup failure from last season and win the Memorial Cup on home ice against the London Knights.
Owen Beck Saginaw Spirit
Owen Beck Saginaw Spirit / Chris Tanouye/GettyImages

Owen Beck had the chance to win the Memorial Cup for his hometown Peterborough Petes last season. The Petes beat the London Knights in the OHL Finals to advance but were eliminated from the Memorial Cup by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the semifinals. The rebuilding Petes traded Beck to the Memorial Cup hosts at the trade deadline, giving him another opportunity to win the historic trophy.

The Spirit lost to the Knights in the Eastern Conference Finals, giving them considerable time off before the Memorial Cup. They had to watch the Knights win the OHL title, then lost to London in the tournament's round-robin, forcing them to go through Moose Jaw to get a third crack at the hated Knights. Beck emerged victorious in the semifinals this time but has one more monster to slay before his junior career ends. He'll get that chance on Sunday night when he faces the Knights.

Memorial Cup Semifinal: Saginaw 7 - Moose Jaw 1

The Spirit worried about Moose Jaw's offensive depth heading into the semifinal. However, the Spirit flexed their offensive muscle thanks to an unexpected ten-point performance from their fourth line. Ethan Hay had two goals and two assists in the effort, leading his team to the final in their first-ever Memorial Cup appearance.

Rodwin Dionicio had four points, while Lincoln Moore and Sebastien Gervais added three each. The game was 1-1 heading into the second period, but the Spirit scored five goals in the first 15 minutes to give themselves an insurmountable lead.

Owen Beck had a goal and one shot in the effort.

Finals Preview

It'll be an all-OHL Memorial Cup Final when the Spirit and Knights square off on Sunday night. The Spirit looks to be the third host team in the last six tournaments to win the Memorial Cup, joining Windsor (2017) and Saint John (2022). They'll also be the first team to win as a first-time participant since 2011, another Saint John Sea Dogs accolade. They'd be the eighth team since 1972 to do it.

The Spirit played the Knights four times during the regular season, splitting the series 2-2. They took the first two games 6-4 and 7-5 but lost the next two 7-3 and 6-1. It also came down to the wire between these two teams in the playoffs, with the Knights eventually escaping with a 4-2 series victory. The difference is that London has beaten them when it counts. They made quick work of the Spirit in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final, then beat them 4-2 in the round-robin finale to advance to the Final.

Will the Spirit be able to avenge both those losses and win one of Canada's greatest trophies? Or will the Knights finish what they started and win their third Memorial Cup since 2005?