HALIFAX — The 2019 Memorial Cup concluded on Sunday with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies defeating the host Halifax Mooseheads to win their first Canadian major junior championship.
Here are five players who dazzled over the 10-days event.
Jakub Lauko, LW, Rouyn-Noranda
The rookie forward bursted on to the scene in Rouyn-Noranda’s tournament opener and carried the strong play through to the final.
Lauko, a native of Prague, Czech Republic, won the tournament scoring title with eight points including two goals and six assists.
His first goal involved him breaking through the Guelph Storm defence and driving to the net. Head coach Mario Pouliot says that type of goal is one of Lauko’s biggest areas of improvement this season — using his speed on the wing.
Pouliot says the Huskies coaching staff has been showing Lauko videos on how to use his speed. The bench boss also says he has a really good shot and a lot of hockey sense.
Lauko made the tournament all-star team and was a third-round pick of the Boston Bruins in last year’s NHL Draft. He’s showing good potential for making the leap to the next level.
Isaac Ratcliffe, LW, Guelph
Philadelphia Flyers fans must have been beaming watching Storm games throughout the tournament.
Ratcliffe dazzled with his soft hands for someone who’s 6-foot-6 and 204 pounds. He finished the tournament with three goals and three assists and had one highlight-reel marker.
His leadership qualities were also impeccable and he showed a lot of determination in the semifinal game with his team trying to find an equalizer. Ratcliffe did score in the final minute and almost had another but couldn’t put it in.
His physical style was another positive as he was no stranger to throwing hits and causing turnovers.
Ratcliffe earned a tournament all-star nod for his efforts.
Noah Gregor, C, Prince Albert
Despite having their tournament cut short after the round robin, the Raiders got some impressive performances from Gregor.
Prince Albert scored only six goals at the Memorial Cup and Gregor was involved in five of them. The 6-foot, 180-pounder finished the event with two goals and three assists.
His best game at the event was a 6-3 loss to Rouyn-Noranda where he had a goal and two assists.
Gregor, picked in the fourth round of the 2016 NHL Draft by San Jose, will likely get a look with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda next season.
Sean Durzi, D, Guelph
Durzi displayed all tournament why the Los Angeles Kings were wanting to acquire him in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs for Jake Muzzin.
Whether it was his smooth skating or dominating presence on the power play, Durzi was a key component to Guelph reaching the semifinal.
He finished the tournament with seven points — tied with teammate Nick Suzuki — and a plus-three rating while earning a Memorial Cup all-star selection.
Durzi describes himself as a puck-moving defenceman and it was quite apparent with the five assists he racked up.
Alexis Gravel, G, Halifax
There’s a reason why Gravel was named the tournament’s most outstanding goaltender.
He turned in some impressive performances to get his team to the championship game and then once again in the final against the Huskies.
One of his best games came in the round robin against Prince Albert when he stopped 33 of 35 shots for the win.
In the final, Gravel faced a flurry of tough shots and kept his team in it during the first and second periods. Some of the highlights included making a stop with the shaft of his stick and several flashy glove saves.
The Chicago Blackhawks draft pick finished the event with a 2.78 goals-against average and .918 save percentage.