Owen Beck Tallies Two Points in Saginaw's Memorial Cup Opener

Owen Beck's second Memorial Cup got off to a great start with a 5-4 win.
Owen Beck Saginaw Spirit
Owen Beck Saginaw Spirit / Chris Tanouye/GettyImages

The 104th Memorial Cup got underway on Friday night in Saginaw, Michigan. The Saginaw Spirit took on the Moose Jaw Warriors in the opening game, with the host team escaping with a 5-4 victory. The Saginaw Spirit have a special rooting interest for Montreal Canadiens fans, as one of their top prospects Owen Beck was sent to them at this year's trade deadline. Beck played one game with the Canadiens last season, and will soon be competing for a full-time spot with the big club.

Owen Beck made the Memorial Cup last season after winning the OHL Championship with his hometown Peterborough Petes. However, the Petes traded him at this year's trade deadline when they had fallen out of contention, giving him another opportunity to win the prestigious trophy before his junior career ended. Beck impacted the Spirit from the start and was a factor in their tournament-opening win.

Saginaw 5 - Moose Jaw 4

Nic Sima scored the tournament's first goal with 33 seconds remaining in the first period, assisted by Zayne Parekh and Michael Misa. Parekh is a projected top-ten pick in this year's draft, and Misa is a top prospect for the 2025 draft. The Canadiens may not be looking for a defenseman at this year's draft, but Parekh could be a good player at the NHL level. Habs fans hope they aren't in the position, but Misa is a name we could hear a lot next season if the Canadiens are in the draft lottery again.

Owen Beck scored his first goal of the tournament early in the second period, capitalizing on a lucky bounce off the defenseman's stick to extend the lead. Parekh found himself on the scoresheet once again, securing the primary assist.

The Spirit extended the lead on goals from Parekh and Jorian Donovan, looking like they could run away with the tournament's first game. However, the Warriors have some elite offensive players, and they discovered that scoring touch. Brayden Yager made it 4-1 off a dish from Matthew Savoie, then Denton Mateychuk scored 40 seconds later. The Warriors would have been content going into the third with a 4-2 deficit, but Brayden Yager scored again from Mateychuk and Jagger Firkus to make it a 4-3 game.

The Spirit needed to find a way to pad their lead, and they did it on a net-front scramble when Josh Bloom scored just two minutes into the third. Owen Beck drew an assist on the tally, which became the game-winning goal when Savoie made it 5-4 late in the game from Mateychuk and Yager.

The Spirit took the first win of the tournament, but the beauty of the Memorial Cup is that no team is ever out of it thanks to a unique playoff setup. The Warriors showed that their elite offensive talent will be able to lead them to success in this tournament.

Owen Beck and the Spirit are back on the ice Sunday against the QMJHL Champion Drummondville Voltigeurs. They finish their round-robin on Wednesday against the team that eliminated them in the OHL playoffs, the London Knights.