Regina, SK – Fans in the Queen City were treated to an electrifying opening night at the Brandt Centre as the 100th edition of the Mastercard Memorial Cup officially got underway Friday night.
It was the hometown Regina Pats laying claim to a 3-2 victory over the OHL-champion Hamilton Bulldogs, setting the pace for what is set to be a tightly-contested 10 days of hockey.
Robert Thomas, C, Hamilton Bulldogs
1G-1A, +1, 5 SOG
The St. Louis Blues prospect paced the Bulldogs Friday night, opening the scoring of the 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup by redirecting a point shot from defenceman Justin Lemcke 7:49 into the first period. Thomas, an 18-year-old product of Aurora, ON, continued to buzz in the first period, ringing a wrist shot off the cross bar moments later. With the game tied 2-2 in the third period, Thomas set up Brandon Saigeon for another glorious opportunity, only to watch Pats goaltender Max Paddock shut the door. When the final buzzer sounded, Thomas had two points to his credit (1G-1A) along with plus-1 rating and five shots on goal.
Nick Henry, RW, Regina Pats
1G-1A, E, 6 SOG
The Colorado Avalanche prospect played the role of hero Friday night, sinking a dagger into the Hamilton Bulldogs, as he scored the game-winning goal with only 32.6 seconds to go in regulation, giving the Pats a 3-2 victory. Aside from scoring the winner, the 18-year-old product of Portage la Prairie, MB tallied a secondary assist, initiating the sequence that led to Sam Steel’s goal – the Pats’ first of the evening. When the night came to a close, Henry had two points to his credit (1G-1A) along with an even rating and six shots on goal.
Josh Mahura, D, Regina Pats
1G-1A, E, 7 SOG
The Anaheim Ducks prospect got the job done at both ends of the rink Friday night. At the offensive end of the equation, the 20-year-old product of St. Albert, AB scored the game-tying goal on a great individual effort 4:30 into the third period, hauling the puck the length of the ice before crossing the blueline and sending a long wrist shot high past the glove of Bulldogs goaltender Kaden Fulcher. Mahura also teed up Sam Steel for his first goal of the tournament, which got the Pats on the board for the first time in the second period of play. When regulation expired, Mahura had himself a two-point night (1G-1A), an even rating and seven shots on goal.