Break­ing down the Me­mo­rial Cup teams

The Expositor (Brantford) - - SPORTS - RYAN MCKENNA

REGINA — The 100th Me­mo­rial Cup gets un­der­way on Fri­day with the host Regina Pats tak­ing on the On­tario Hockey League’s Hamil­ton Bull­dogs.

Here’s a look at each of the teams com­pet­ing at this year’s Cana­dian Hockey League cham­pi­onship tour­ney:

Regina Pats, host

2017-18 record: 40-25-7, third in East Divi­sion

How they got here: Tour­na­ment host. Lost in first round of WHL play­offs to Swift Cur­rent.

Player to watch: Sam Steel. The 2016 first-round pick of the Ana­heim Ducks had 83 points in 54 reg­u­lar-sea­son games while adding 11 points in seven play­off contests. Won gold with Canada at the 2018 world ju­nior cham­pi­onship and was the 2016-17 WHL player of the year.

Fun fact: The Pats also lost in the first round of the play­offs the last time they hosted the Me­mo­rial Cup in 2001. Regina lost to Val-d’Or in the semi­fi­nal of that tour­na­ment.

Swift Cur­rent Bron­cos, WHL champs

2017-18 record: 48-177, sec­ond in East Divi­sion

How they got here: De­feated Everett in six games to claim the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

Player to watch: Stu­art Skin­ner. He had a WHL-play­off lead­ing six shutouts, 2.20 goal­sagainst av­er­age and .932 save per­cent­age in 26 post-sea­son games. Swift Cur­rent ac­quired him from Leth­bridge in Jan­uary and the Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers prospect has been solid ever since.

Fun fact: The Bron­cos hadn’t won a league ti­tle since 1993 — the most re­cent time a Saskatchewan-based WHL fran­chise was crowned league cham­pion.

Hamil­ton Bull­dogs, OHL champs

2017-18 record: 43-18-7, first in East­ern Con­fer­ence

How they got here: Beat Sault Ste. Marie in six games to cap­ture the J. Ross Robert­son Cup.

Player to watch: Robert Thomas. The 2017 first-round pick of the St. Louis Blues recorded seven points in the OHL fi­nal and 32 in the play­offs, earn­ing Thomas the post-sea­son MVP award. The Bull­dogs ac­quired him from the Lon­don Knights in Jan­uary, shortly af­ter he won world ju­nior gold with Canada.

Fun fact: The team reached the Me­mo­rial Cup in just its third sea­son since re­lo­cat­ing from Belleville. It’s Hamil­ton’s first OHL ti­tle since 1976.

AcadieBathurst Ti­tan, QMJHL champs

201718 record: 43-15-10, sec­ond over­all in QMJHL

How they got here: Got past Blainville-Bois­briand in six games to win the Pres­i­dent Cup.

Player to watch: Noah Dob­son. Scouts will be watch­ing the de­fence­man closely as he’s pro­jected as a top-10 se­lec­tion at the NHL draft in June. The 18-yearold tied for sec­ond in QMJHL play­off scor­ing by a de­fence­men with three goals and 10 as­sists in 20 games.

Fun fact: Acadie-Bathurst last won the QMJHL ti­tle in 1999 — the same sea­son the Ti­tan re­lo­cated from Laval, Que.

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