5 Keys to Memorial Cup Semi-Finals: Hamilton Bulldogs vs Regina Pats:
Game 1: Hamilton 2 – Regina 3
Game 2: Hamilton 2 – Swift Current 1
Game 3: Hamilton 3 – Acadie-Bathurst 2
Semifinals: Hamilton vs Regina May 25th 10 pm ET
Robert Thomas (2 goals 1 assist, Brandon Saigeon (3 assists) and Ben Gleason (1 goal 2 assists) are all tied at 3 points
GP: 3 G: 1 A: 10 PTS: 11
- Game 1 Rematch
Although the Bulldogs led for 14 minutes and 27 seconds in Game 1, a 33 second lead is all the Pats needed to take Game 1 by a score of 3-2. Robert Thomas was the 3rd star of the game for his strong performance in the tournament opener. He tipped home the Bulldogs’ opening goal and had 5 shots on goal.
Josh Mahura had a huge game for the Pats, as he had an assist on Sam Steel’s opening goal and he ripped one in off the rush to tie the game at 2 in the 2nd period. He was named the 1st star of the game.
- Take Away the Home Crowd
A couple of players and even Coach John Gruden have said that the jitters from being on the big stage may have impacted the way they played in Game 1. The jitters are clearly out of the way now as the Bulldogs have been getting back on track, winning Games 2 and 3
- Who’s Hot?
The goaltender for the Black and Gold has been nothing short of spectacular in this tournament. Fulcher’s latest start against Acadie-Bathurst was a gem as he stopped 33 of 35 shots that he faced on route to a 3-2 Bulldogs win. He has put up a 2.01 goals against average and a .931 save percentage. These numbers are outstanding, especially when you consider that the average stats for the rest of the goalies in this tournament are a 4.22 goals against average and a .882 save percentage.
Henry has had a monster tournament for the Pats recording multiple points in each of Regina’s 3 games including a hat trick in their 6-4 win over Swift Current. The Colorado Avalanche prospect currently leads the Pats in Memorial Cup goals with 5. Henry scored the game-winning goal with just seconds left in the game against the Bulldogs in Game 1.
- Special Teams Battle
After going four games in a row (including the last three of the OHL Final) without a power-play goal, the Bulldogs have rebounded nicely over the last two games at the Memorial Cup, going 3-for-9 with the man advantage.
On the other end, the Pats boast the top ranked power play in the tournament at 41.7%.
Each team had multiple power play goals in their last game. The Bulldogs went 2-for-6 against the Titan and Regina went 3-for-5 with the man advantage against the Broncos.
Brandon Saigeon, who is normally a power play goal scoring machine, has 2 assists on the power-play in the tournament. He is tied for the team lead in power-play points along with Ben Gleason at 2 points.
Anaheim Ducks prospect Sam Steel leads the Pats in power play points with 5.
- The Clutch Kids
The biggest stage of the season so far for both teams is set: The winner plays in the Memorial Cup Championship game on Sunday, while the season comes to an end for the other. The Bulldogs never faced an elimination game in the OHL playoffs and are 4-0 in games in which they’ve had a chance to advance. They’ve outscored their opponents in such games 15-8 and outshot them in 3 of the 4 games. Robert Thomas leads the Bulldogs in points in these big wins with 5 (2 goals 3 assists).