#MMC100 – Game 6: Five Takeaways
The final all-Western Hockey League matchup of the season saw the host Regina Pats score a 6-5 victory over the Swift Current Broncos, booking the host’s spot in Friday’s Semi-Final while ending the WHL Champions’ season with an 0-3 record at the tournament. Here’s a look at five takeaways from Wednesday’s round-robin finale.
1. Wednesday’s meeting between the Regina Pats and Swift Current Broncos proved to be the final meeting of the season between two Western Hockey League teams. During the regular season, the Broncos won the season series with a 5-0-1-0 record in six games against the Pats, also capturing their Round One matchup in the 2018 WHL Playoffs 4-3 in seven games and playing for a final time Wednesday, where the Pats secured the most important victory of the 14 battles this season.
As the home team, the Broncos finished with a 6-2-0-0 record while the Pats ended up with a 3-3 record as the home team in the 14-game season series.
The lengthy rivalry that began at the Brandt Centre back on September 27, 2017 featured some top-tier offensive productions from both sides. Broncos captain Glenn Gawdin and Florida Panthers prospect Aleksi Heponiemi finished tied for the most points from the entirety of the season series, both collecting 22 points. Gawdin’s total featured 12 goals and 10 assists while Heponiemi had a pair of goals and 20 assists. Arizona Coyotes prospect Tyler Steenbergen finished third in scoring with 20 points (9G-11A).
For the Pats, it was their captain leading things as well, as Anaheim Ducks prospect Sam Steel collected 17 points (2G-15A). Edmonton Oilers prospect Cameron Hebig had 11 points (7G-4A) while Ducks defensive prospect Josh Mahura had 10 assists.
2. Colorado Avalanche fans must have enjoyed watching Wednesday’s round-robin finale as Regina Pats forward Nick Henry tallied a hat trick. The 94th overall selection by the Avalanche in the 2017 NHL Draft had the first hat trick in a Mastercard Memorial Cup game since Windsor Spitfires forward Jeremiah Addison tallied three times in a round-robin finale victory for the Spitfires against the Erie Otters at last year’s tournament.
3. We’ve now reached the conclusion of the round-robin in the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan claiming the top spot with a 2-1 record. Since the inception of the four-team round-robin at the Memorial Cup, 16 teams have claimed the top spot in the table with a 2-1 record, placing them directly into Sunday’s championship final.
Of those 16 teams, they have a 10-6 record in championship games. Further to that point, six of those 16 teams have come from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, with a 5-1 record in championship games. The Titan will look to make it a 6-1 record come Sunday.
4. Sam Steel’s five point performance tied a Mastercard Memorial Cup single game record and thrust him into the scoring lead for the tournament with 11 points (1G-10A) through three games. He’s now two assists away from tying a record set in 1985 by Dan Hodgson of the Prince Albert Raiders for the most assists in a single series with 13.
He’s also five points away from equalling the record for most points in a single series at the Mastercard Memorial Cup. The last WHL player to lead the tournament in scoring was Kelowna Rockets forward Leon Draisaitl, who had seven points in five games at the 2015 Mastercard Memorial Cup.
The tournament lead in goals also belongs to a member of the Pats in Nick Henry, who has netted five goals through his team’s first three games. He needs just three goals to tie the likes of Dale Hawerchuk, Luc Robitaille and Pat Falloon for the most goals in a single series at the tournament.
5. We’re now entering the final two games of the 2017-18 Canadian Hockey League season, starting first with Friday’s Semi-Final between the Regina Pats and Hamilton Bulldogs.
Of 38 contested semi-final games — including one two-game semi-final series — between 1974 to 2017, the Ontario Hockey League leads the way with 14 victories. The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League aren’t far behind though, with 12 wins each to their credit.
As Friday’s game will feature the WHL’s Regina Pats and OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs facing off against each other, it’ll give one of the leagues an advantage in their all-time semi-final meetings at the tournament. Both teams are presently deadlocked with a 5-5 record in 10 meetings.
The last semi-final meeting between the two leagues came back in 2013 when the Portland Winterhawks downed the London Knights by a 2-1 score. The OHL’s last semi-final victory against a WHL opponent came in 2011 when the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors defeated the Kootenay ICE by a 3-1 result. Though both the 2013 Winterhawks and 2011 Majors advanced to the championship game, neither managed to come away with a victory in the final game.