Category Archives: Memorial Cup

  • 0

Halifax Mooseheads’ Samuel Asselin Asserts Dominance at Memorial Cup

HALIFAX– Samuel Asselin loves to score. Particularly on stages where expectations and stakes are an all-time high. The Halifax Mooseheads forward, who generated 48 goals and 38 assists in the regular season, continued to impress on the Memorial Cup stage, tallying a goal and an assist in his team’s 4-1 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders.

Given the shortness of the tournament, Asselin knows the importance of winning the first game of the Memorial Cup.

“It’s huge,” said Asselin after the game. “The first win, get the monkey off your back and I think that’s what we did.”
Samuel Asselin Goal Scoring Ability an Asset in QMJHL
It was clear from early on that Samuel Asselin would be a stellar hockey player. A native of L’Assomption, Quebec, Asselin would be drafted to the Shawnigan Cataractes, after a promising Triple AAA career. In his early years with Shawnigan, the young forward possessed high hockey IQ, setting up his teammates with scoring opportunities.

But there was doubt whether Asselin, only 5’10, could become a prolific scorer. Prompting a trade from Shawnigan to Acadie-Bathurst Titan, halfway through the 2017-18 QMJHL season. It was his experience playing with the Titan where Asselin transformed from a role player into one of the best scorers in the QMJHL.

During Acadie-Bathurst Titan’s run to the QMJHL Championship, Asselin generated three goals and eight assists. This momentum translated to the Memorial Cup, where Asselin put together six points (five goals, one assist) including the game-winning goal to give the Titan its first Memorial Cup in franchise history. This performance, in front of a plethora of scouts and raucous junior hockey fans, caught the attention of Halifax Mooseheads general manager Cam Russell, who brought Asselin into his team at the start of this season.

“He’s such a complete player,” Russell noted. “He’s a competitor. He brings a level of skill that I think is underrated. He plays big in big games and provides great leadership. To add Samuel to the mix was important for us.”
Samuel Asselin’s Veteran Experience Will Help Halifax at Memorial Cup
Samuel Asselin is currently undrafted with the NHL. He was invited last year to the Columbus Blue Jackets training camp but failed to sign a contract. After leading the QMJHL scoring this season, Asselin hopes that a solid Memorial Cup performance will enable his career trajectory to the NHL.

Before being traded to Halifax, Asselin’s career high in goals was 17. But a switch in the lineup from Halifax Mooseheads’ head coach Eric Veilleux, moving Asselin to the first line, propelled the 20-year-old prospect to generate more offense.

“After Christmas, I had no choice but to move him to the first line,” said Veilleux. “A big addition for our team.”

The Mooseheads are the host team at this year’s Memorial Cup and are no stranger to success at this tournament. In 2013, led by Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, Halifax earned the holy grail of junior hockey. Now, Halifax is looking to continue the momentum, after beating the WHL champion Prince Albert Raiders, who advanced to the Memorial Cup with a Game 7 overtime victory.

“Confidence is key,” said Asselin. “I had my chances every year I just didn’t put the puck in. This year everything I touched went in.”

 

 The post Halifax Mooseheads’ Samuel Asselin Asserts Dominance at Memorial Cup appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

Guelph Storm Complete Historical Comeback, Crowned OHL Champions

GUELPH– Not many thought it was possible. If a team was given what the Guelph Storm had to endure this OHL Playoffs, the odds were slim. But the 2018-19 Guelph Storm isn’t just any other team. They epitomize perseverance, determination and conquering adversity on another pedestal. In three consecutive series, they experienced deficits. Two of those were on the brink of elimination.

But this pesky Guelph team never gave up. The Storm surged when their backs were against the wall. And now, they are on top of the Ontario Hockey League, claiming the J. Ross Robertson Cup for the fourth time in their franchise history by dethroning the Ottawa 67’s in six games.

“I can’t put this into words,” said Isaac Ratcliffe, who had two goals and two assists in the 8-3 rout of the Ottawa 67’s in Game 6. “The resiliency from this team is unbelievable, none that I haven’t seen before. I’ve never played for a team with this much skill, class and character.”
Guelph Storm Battled Adversity All Playoffs, Including Game 6 Against Ottawa

Every OHL season has its ups and downs. Whether it’s a slump during the regular season or being down in a playoff series, the adversity that a junior hockey team faces is integral in building character and toughness.

This is the Guelph Storm mantra. Against the Western Conference leading London Knights they were down 3-0. In the Western Conference Final against the Saginaw Spirit they were down 3-1. Finally, the OHL Championship presented its own challenges, as the Ottawa 67’s took a 2-0 series lead.

But the experience of coming back to win against London and Saginaw proved to be vital for Guelph. In the final four games of the OHL Championship, the Storm would outscore the 67’s 23 to 13. The final two games saw the Ottawa 67’s have early leads.

On the brink of elimination, Ottawa scored two goals to open Game 6, putting doubt and silence throughout Sleeman Centre. But the Storm players never wavered. After being outshot in the first period 13 to 12, Guelph began to surge in the second period, winning the puck battles and creating scoring chances. After the 67’s missed on two wide open nets to put the game out of reach, Guelph would score five unanswered goals, two of which came from their captain Isaac Ratcliffe, and one from Montreal Canadiens prospect Nick Suzuki.

It is this belief in each other and the veteran leadership that enables the Storm to have success coming back from any deficit.

“We had a nice response in the second period,” said Burnett. “Being behind in two series helped us when we were down tonight. We stayed patient and we were able to find the puck to generate offence.”
 
The Storm Surges to Halifax for the Memorial Cup

Not only was Isaac Ratcliffe a pillar for this Storm team, but also the players Guelph acquired at the trade deadline. Montreal Canadiens prospect Nick Suzuki, after acquiring him from the Owen Sound Attack, generated 42 points this postseason (16 goals, 26 assists). This earned the young forward the Wayne Gretzky Trophy for MVP of the OHL Playoffs.

Chicago Blackhawks prospect Mackenzie Entwistle, after being traded from the Hamilton Bulldogs, used his veteran leadership to be a pivotal asset for the Guelph Storm. Playing alongside Ratcliffe and Suzuki in Game 6, Entwistle was a +2 with one assist, adding to his seven goals and 14 assists for the entire postseason.

With Guelph’s fourth OHL Championship in franchise history, the team now prepares for its next challenge. The Memorial Cup, the holy grail of junior hockey, is up for grabs and the Storm will look to continue its hot streak playing alongside the best junior hockey teams in Canada. For these youngsters, it’s an opportunity to showcase their gifted offensive abilities on an even bigger stage.

“For me to have another chance to play for a Memorial Cup, I am so excited,” says Entwistle.
 
Two years ago, a championship seemed like an unattainable concept. But through hard work and a devoted ambition to be better, the sunny skies turned to clouds. And the clouds turned into a Storm that has now surged to the top of the Ontario Hockey League.

This team isn’t ready to give that up just yet.
The post Guelph Storm Complete Historical Comeback, Crowned OHL Champions appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


Categories

w88