MasterCard Memorial Cup Final Preview
The Championship Final of the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup features the OHL Champion London Knights vs. the QMJHL host Shawinigan Cataractes.
The Knights finished the round-robin with a 2-1 record losing their only contest to the Cataractes by a 6-2 score last Sunday. While the Knights have only played three games last hitting the ice on Tuesday, this marks the sixth game of the tournament for the Cataractes and fourth game in five days. After finishing the round-robin on Wednesday night with a 1-2 record, the Cataractes defeated the WHL Champion Edmonton Oil Kings 6-1 in a Tie-Breaker game on Thursday, followed by a win over the QMJHL Champion and defending MasterCard Memorial Cup Champion Saint John Sea Dogs by a 7-4 score in Friday’s Semi-Final.
The Knights are led offensively in this tournament by Nashville Predators prospect Austin Watson who has four points in three games, while rookie Max Domi has three points along with Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Scott Harrington, and regular season top scorer Seth Griffith. The Cataractes have received scoring from Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Michael Chaput who leads the tournament with 11 points, Phoenix Coyotes prospect Brandon Gormley has nine points, while Anton Zlobin and captain Michael Bournival have seven and six points respectively.
CHL Goaltender of the Year Michael Houser will start for the Knights, while Gabriel Girard will backstop the Cataractes entering the contest with a tournament-best 2.50 goals-against-average and .917 save percentage.
The Knights aim for their second Memorial Cup title last winning in 2005 on home ice when they defeated Sidney Crosby and the Rimouski Oceanic. The Cataractes have never won the Memorial Cup but last competed in the Championship Final in 1985 falling 6-1 to the Prince Albert Raiders.
The Cataractes work to become just the second team in history to win the title after playing in a Tie-Break contest, achieved only by the 2009 Windsor Spitfires who featured the Knights’ Watson in his rookie season.
This marks the fifth straight year that an OHL club will compete in the Championship Final, and the eighth time in the past 10 years where the host team has reached the final.
Since 1983, 18 Championship Finals have featured the host club with the home team winning just eight times most recently the Vancouver Giants in 2007.
The 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup Championship Final can be seen live on Sportsnet and TVA Sports at 7PM eastern and is also available to viewers on the NHL Network U.S, online through Livestream or listen to the call on Sportsnet Radio FAN 590.