CHL Notebook: Memorial Cup showcases top-flight talent


Nick Suzuki with the Guelph Storm. (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Thanks to a Prince Albert Raiders overtime win Monday night, the 2019 Memorial Cup bracket is set and kicks off this weekend in Halifax.

As is regularly the case, the tournament will feature high-end talent on all four teams.

Take the host Halifax Mooseheads, for example.

NHL draft eligible forward Raphael Lavoie scored 20 goals in 23 playoff games as the Mooseheads advanced to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final.

After missing time in the opening two rounds of the playoffs because of mono, third-year forward Benoit-Olivier Groulx (Anaheim Ducks) returned to the Mooseheads lineup in Round 3 and had 12 points in 10 games over the final two rounds of the playoffs.

The QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies boast a powerful offence that includes high-scoring forward Joel Teasdale (Montreal Canadiens).

Acquired ahead of the QMJHL trade deadline from the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, Teasdale had 34 points in 20 playoff games. That included 13 multi-point games.

Defenceman Noah Dobson (New York Islanders) earned playoff MVP honours thanks to a 29-point playoff performance.

The Guelph Storm, set to represent the Ontario Hockey League, enter the event after a six-game series win over the Ottawa 67’s.

The Storm came back in three consecutive series to win the league title, including winning four consecutive games over Ottawa after falling behind 2-0 early.

Guelph’s top line of Isaac Ratcliffe (Philadelphia Flyers), Nick Suzuki (Montreal Canadiens) and MacKenzie Entwistle (Chicago Blackhawks) had a major impact for the Storm.

Suzuki, in particular, was outstanding for the Storm as he scored 42 points in 24 playoff games, including 11 points in the final against Ottawa.

After being held to a single goal in the opening two games of the Ottawa series, Suzuki had 10 points over the final four games.

In the Western Hockey League, Prince Albert beat the Vancouver Giants 3-2 to win the league title and become the final team to earn a spot in Halifax.

Overage forward Dante Hannoun, acquired from the Victoria Royals midway through the season, capped off a great playoff with the overtime winner Monday night.

The fifth-year forward finished the playoff run with 14 goals after scoring 29 in the regular season.

After posting seven points through the opening three rounds of the playoffs, veteran forward Parker Kelly (Ottawa Senators) broke out in the league final against the Giants.

The 20-year-old had five multi-point games in the series, finishing it with four goals and 10 points in seven games, including two goals in game six and a pair of assists in the seventh and deciding game.

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