While the Swift Current Broncos will be fighting for survival Wednesday night against the Regina Pats, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan and Hamilton Bulldogs will be watching that game with bated breath.
Another incredible season of CHL hockey is in the books, and the Memorial Cup is celebrating 100 years in Regina, Sask. with the host Regina Pats, WHL Swift Current Broncos, OHL Hamilton Bulldogs and QMJHL Acadie-Bathurst Titan battling it out for Canadian major junior supremacy.
No lead is ever safe in junior hockey, even a five-goal one. That’s the hole the Regina Pats were faced with just minutes into the third period of their game against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in Day 3 action of the 2018 MasterCard Memorial Cup in Regina.
It didn’t take long for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan to show that they belong at this spring’s MasterCard Memorial Cup. Entering the 100th edition of the tournament as one of the two smallest markets in the Canadian Hockey League, the Titan came up with an effort that befits their name.
One doesn’t have to look hard to see some parallels between this year’s Regina Pats and last year’s Windsor Spitfires. The Pats are hosting this year’s MasterCard Memorial Cup like the Spitfires did last year.
They may not be the hosts, but the Swift Current Broncos have been plotting their path to the Memorial Cup for months. The Broncos kicked off the season on a frenetic pace led by their staggeringly effective top line of Glenn Gawdin, Tyler Steenbergen and Aleksi Heponiemi.
The long wait is finally over for the Regina Pats. The Pats fell one goal shy of forcing overtime in Game 7 of their opening round Western Hockey League playoff series against the eventual champion Swift Current Broncos.
The last time the Acadie-Bathurst Titan qualified for the Memorial Cup, Jean Chretien was the Prime Minister of Canada and composite hockey sticks were on the verge of revolutionizing hockey forever.
The Hamilton Bulldogs didn’t need an ace in the hole to reach the 2018 MasterCard Memorial Cup. Along with the Regina Pats and Oshawa Generals, they were a finalist in the Memorial Cup bidding process last year, and most figured the NHL-sized FirstOntario Centre, hotels in the downtown core and Hamilton’s proximity to Toronto would give them the edge.
ISS Hockey releases their May list of Top 31 Prospect Rankings for the NHL Draft. Along with Kirill Marchenko, Jonatan Berggren, and Matthias Samuelsson breaking the rankings, Serron Noel makes the most notable climb from 21 to 14, since breaking the list at 31 in December.
By the time the OHL final begins on Thursday, the Eastern Conference champion Hamilton Bulldogs will have gone through seven days since their last game, certainly enough time to rest up and nurse any bumps or bruises.
It’s fascinating to see how history or in this case, QMJHL playoff pairings, repeat themselves. Very often, hockey rivalries are born through geographic proximities like the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and Val d’Or Foreurs who are separated by a mere 106 kilometres.
The final four is now set in the OHL and it isn’t much of a surprise who’s there. The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and Hamilton Bulldogs, top seeds in the Western and Eastern Conferences respectively, have advanced to their conference finals.
Logan Barlage is making the most of his minutes. The 17-year-old Lethbridge Hurricanes centre has been thriving since getting shipped away from the Swift Current Broncos at the trade deadline and now has the chance to snuff out his former squad in the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference final.
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