Five OHL clubs were in action on Day 5 of the inaugural Memorial eCup presented by Kia, and four of them came out on top. The Peterborough Petes, Flint Firebirds, Ottawa 67’s and Erie Otters will join 10 other OHL squads in Round 2 of the tournament that gets continues on Sunday.
WHL commentators Dan O’Connor (Vancouver Giants) and Nick Marek (Portland Winterhawks) provided the call on Saturday on broadcasts that aired live on League and member team Twitch and Facebook accounts.
The 64-team field has now been narrowed down to 32. Here’s a recap of Saturday’s action:
Peterborough 4, Halifax 2
Former Kitchener Rangers forward Liam Peyton and the Halifax Mooseheads offered fierce resistance, but couldn’t match Peterborough Petes blueliner Shawn Spearing as the Peterborough Petes skated to a 4-2 win to kick-off OHL action on Day 5 of the Memorial eCup Presented by Kia. The Mooseheads struck first but Brady Hinz sent the Petes to the intermission on a high note, knotting things at one after one. British star Liam Kirk put the Petes in the lead midway through the second with help from Hinz and Josh Kavanagh before Halifax drew even at two on a goal off the rush by Zac Jones. Petes blueliner Matt McNamara would score the game winner midway through the third frame on a slapshot from the blue line. Kirk added his second of the contest with just 0.8 seconds remaining to secure a 4-2 final score, sending the Petes to Round 2.
Saint John 5, Owen Sound 2
A clash of 2011 Memorial Cup squads hit the ice, with Riley Bezeau and the Saint John Sea Dogs defeating Sam Sedley‘s Owen Sound Attack 5-2 thanks to a pair of goals from both Vladislav Kotkov and Cameron MacDonald. Kotkov got the Sea Dogs on the board early after a puckhandling miscue by Owen Sound goaltender Mack Guzda. Attack captain Aidan Dudas would knot the score at one with his first of two on the game before MacDonald was left alone in the slot to send Saint John to the dressing room up 2-1. The Sea Dogs outshot the Attack 12-1 in the opening frame but things tightened up from there on out. Peter Reynolds put Saint John up 3-1 before Dudas struck again to narrow the deficit. Kotkov re-established the two-goal cushion early in the third before MacDonald put the icing on the cake. The Bears had sustained pressure in the third period but weren’t able to light the lamp again as Sedley’s tournament came to an abrupt end in a 5-2 loss.
Flint 5, Shawinigan 4
Riley Piercey had the Ty Dellandrea, Evgeniy Oksentyuk connection clicking early and often, with the former feeding the latter a hat-trick as the ‘Birds edged the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes 5-4. With things knotted at four late in the third, Flint advanced on a breakaway game winner from Connor Roberts, who was sprung by Ethan Keppen to finish the job with 56 seconds left on the clock. Oksentyuk started the scoring two minutes into action before Shawinigan’s Matthew MacDonald scored his first of two on the game. Vasily Ponomarev and William Veillette also scored Cataractes goals while Keppen rounded out Flint’s list of goal-scorers. Luke Cavallin made some big third period saves to lock down the win as Piercey and the Firebirds go back to the drawing board for Round 2 of the PS4 showcase.
Ottawa 9, Calgary 3
The Ottawa 67’s fired up a five-goal second period and never looked back as Cameron Tolnai brought his A-game, powering past Luke Prokop and the Calgary Hitmen 9-3. The 67’s outshot the Hitmen 6-1 in a scoreless opening frame before Kevin Bahl got the Barber Poles started on a blast from the point. Joseph Garreffa tacked on a pair before the second expired while Graeme Clarke and Mitchell Hoelscher also capitalized. Blake Allan countered for Calgary to wrap-up the opening 40 minutes. Clarke would add another, Garreffa completed the hat-trick and Marco Rossi lit the lamp to give himself a goal and three assists as the 67’s cruised into the second round with a lopsided victory.
Erie 7, Seattle 6
They saved arguably the best game of the first round for last, with an all-American showdown between Brendan Hoffmann and the Erie Otters up against Keltie Jeri-Leon and the Seattle Thunderbirds. In a thrilling finish, Emmett Sproule’s second of the night was the difference-maker as the Otters edged the T-Birds 7-6 to become the 14th OHL club to advance to Round 2 of the Memorial eCup presented by Kia. Austen Swankler and Hayden Fowler paced the Otters out in front 2-0, a lead that would swell to four before Jeri-Leon charged back in the second period, with Lucas Ciona and Payton Mount each banging in a goal. Maxim Golod sent the Otters to the second intermission up 5-3 before Seattle’s Tyrel Bauer and Matthew Rempe scored consecutive third period markers to draw the two sides even at five. Fowler put the Otters ahead 6-5 in the latter half of the final frame before Sproule scored the eventual winner, banging in his own rebound to make the score 7-5. A late goal from Seattle’s Conner Roulette would be too little, too late as Hoffmann, who was dressed up as Santa Claus for the big win, gifted his Otters a trip to the second round.