There’s a good chance the head coaches of the Saint John Sea Dogs and Seattle Thunderbirds gave somewhat of the same pre-game pep talk prior to their pivotal round robin game at the 2017 MasterCard Memorial Cup.
Maybe it’s a coincidence that Dylan Strome, Mathew Barzal and Thomas Chabot are all at the Mastercard Memorial Cup playing prominent roles for their teams.
Judging from the Windsor Spitfires performance on opening night of the 2017 MasterCard Memorial Cup, their 44 day layoff from the CHL postseason suited them just fine. On April 4, Windsor was eliminated from the OHL playoffs after losing in seven games to the London Knights.
After 68 games (72 in the WHL), four playoff rounds, countless hours spent at practices and on the bus, it all comes down to this. The Erie Otters, Saint John Sea Dogs and Seattle Thunderbirds all captured championships in their respective leagues and will push a little further through four to six games in an effort to claim junior hockey supremacy at the Memorial Cup.
Robert Thomas has inched his way up the rankings all year and finds himself in the top 25 with just over a month to draft day. Moving 43 spots since December where he debuted at #64, the London Knights high-scoring forward has made the steady rise to now sit at #21.
Rack up another QMJHL championship for the Saint John Sea Dogs. During the second week of May, the Sea Dogs captured their third league crown since 2011 when they swept the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (4-0) in this season’s President’s Cup final.
Major junior coaches demand a lot of their players and three teams delivered in a big way with championship seasons. They’ll now join the host Windsor Spitfires at this year’s Memorial Cup, where it’s up to the coaches to guide the way as everyone gives an extra push towards national glory.
Many expected that the 2017 Memorial Cup would feature 1, 2 and 3 from CHL’s Top Ten. But Seattle defeated the No. 1 Regina Pats to leave us with 2 and 3 in the Otters and Sea Dogs – and to remind us that anything can happen.
The stage is now set for this year’s QMJHL final. In mid-March, 16 teams began their quest for the 2017 President’s Cup with eight different playoff series.
All three CHL leagues are down to two teams, and the final round is set to begin this week. All three league powerhouses have advanced to the finals, but they’ll have to overcome some hot underdogs to advance to the Memorial Cup.
When the CHL playoffs began (and throughout most of the year), there were three clear favourites in every league: the Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL), the Erie Otters (OHL) and the Regina Pats (WHL).
Conor Timmins has been climbing ISS Hockey’s rankings all season and is making his debut on the Top 31, jumping from #47 to #28. The 2014 OHL fourth round pick has been showing steady improvement all season and came into his own in the postseason prior to the Soo’s second round exit
It’s happened only once in the 47-year history of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Following the 2009-10 season, the Moncton Wildcats and Saint John Sea Dogs squared off in the President’s Cup final marking the first time in league history that two Maritime Division teams made it to the QMJHL championship series.
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