The Hamilton Bulldogs secured themselves at least a spot in Friday’s Semi-Final, handing the Acadie-Bathurst Titan their first loss in a 3-2 outcome. Here’s a look at five takeaways from Tuesday’s game.
1. History is on the side of the Hamilton Bulldogs as they took another important step towards lifting the trophy with a 3-2 win over the Acadie-Bathurst Titan Tuesday night. More importantly, they’ve battled in three straight one-goal games, losing a 3-2 result to Regina before their 2-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos and their aforementioned Tuesday victory.
Of the last five teams to be involved in three one-goal games during the round-robin portion of the Mastercard Memorial Cup, that team has gone on to lift the trophy in four of the five occasions, with the 2015 Oshawa Generals being the most recent example. Other recent examples include the 2011 Saint John Sea Dogs, 2009 Windsor Spitfires, 2007 Vancouver Giants. The 2008 Kitchener Rangers were the lone example of recording three straight one-goal games, though they still made it to Sunday’s championship final.
2. Despite Tuesday’s loss, San Jose Sharks prospect Jeffrey Truchon-Viel continued to lead the Titan as their captain and on the scoresheet. Truchon-Viel added a goal and an assist to give him nine points (3G-6A) in three games at the tournament, leading all players in scoring.
The last Quebec-born player to lead the tournament in scoring was Shawinigan Cataractes forward Michael Chaput, who had 12 points (5G-7A) in six games at the 2012 edition of the tournament, leading his club to victory.
To add onto the love fest for the Titan, 2018 NHL Draft Prospect Noah Dobson sits second in scoring at the tournament with seven points (2G-5A), leading all defencemen as well. Add in forward Samuel Asselin’s five points (4G-1A) and players from the QMJHL champion occupy three of the top four spots in tournament scoring.
3. Hamilton Bulldogs goaltender and Detroit Red Wings prospect Kaden Fulcher has stepped up his game at the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup.
The Brigden, Ont. product has stopped 81 of 87 shots through three games to post a 2-1 record, 2.01 goals-against-average, and a .931 save percentage. His GAA, which leads all goaltenders at the tournament, will likely remain at the forefront barring a major performance from Stuart Skinner in Wednesday’s round-robin finale. It’s Fulcher who sits slightly behind when it comes to SV% though, just behind Skinner’s .937 SV% through two games.
4. This is the time of year when each team expects their best to step up and deliver, but Canada Post may have beat them all on the best delivery before the tournament even began. Hours before the puck dropped on the start of the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup last Friday, they unveiled a commemorative stamp recognizing one of the most cherished trophies in sport.
The stamp was Illustrated by Louis Hébert and designed by Paprika of Montréal and pays tribute to the importance the Regina Pats and the trophy have played in junior hockey across this great country for the past century.
The stamps and all related products are available at retail outlets and online at canadapost.ca/memorialcup.
5. Now that the Acadie-Bathurst Titan and Hamilton Bulldogs have completed their portion of the round-robin, all eyes will now focus on the finale as the Swift Current Broncos play host to the Regina Pats Wednesday.
Simply put, the Broncos need a win to force a tie-breaker on Thursday, a rematch with the Pats while the Pats can turn the tournament into a three-team race with a victory.
The game will also mark the first time two Saskatchewan-based teams have played each other at the Mastercard Memorial Cup since the Broncos defeated the Saskatoon Blades 4-3 in overtime to capture the 1989 Mastercard Memorial Cup.
The Broncos managed to score a victory in Game Three of their Round One series in the 2018 WHL Playoffs, but didn’t fare so well in Games Four and Six.