The 2009 Memorial Cup has come and gone but in its wake are the names of players that are now recognizable because of the way they played in the event.
Here is a look at 5 of the best single game performances from this year's edition of the Memorial Cup.
5. Luca Cunti (LW) - Rimouski Oceanic
Kelowna 4 - Rimouski 1
Friday, May 15, 2009
I really could have selected any game to point out a strong performance for Cunti. In fact, over the course of the entire tournament I would go so far as to suggest that Cunti was Rimouski's best forward - certainly in the first two of the Oceanics four outings. He only ended the tournament with 2 points, both goals, but he was the most dangerous on the rush and one of the most creative players Rimouski had going.
While Patrice Cormier found his physical game in time for game 3, Keven Veilleux never did much to impress me, Philippe Cornet was decent and Logan McMillan invisible (outside of a huge elbow on Dmitri Kulikov)... it was Cunti who showed up for every game.
4. Dale Mitchell (RW) - Windsor Spitfires
Windsor 6 - Rimouski 4
Thursday, May 21, 2009
The tie breaker game appeared to be in Rimouski's control as they carried a 4-2 lead into the 3rd period. However, with Toronto prospect Dale Mitchell struck three times in 3:33 of the final frame, the Spitfires assumed command of the game and went on to eliminate the hosts from the tournament. Mitchell had 7 shots on net in the game and was the spark plug emotionally and physically in the game for Windsor.
Mitchell also scored a huge goal in the final against Kelowna when he beat Mark Guggenberger for the game's second goal and the eventual game winner.
3. Marc-Andre Bourdon (D) - Rimouski Oceanic
Rimouski 5 - Windsor 4
Sunday, May 17, 2009
With the Oceanic dropping their first game to Kelowna it was paramount that they get a win against Windsor. To do so they knew they were going to have to attempt to keep Taylor Hall in check and that job fell to Philadelphia 3rd round pick Marc-Andre Bourdon - and he flourished in the role. Hall managed to pick up a couple of assists and had 5 shots on net but he played with his head on a swivel too after being pummeled early on by the very physical Bourdon.
It was Bourdon's best game of the tournament but that's not to say that he played poorly in the other three. He helped make a name for himself in this tournament and gave Flyers fans another player to look forward to.
2. Adam Henrique (C) - Windsor Spitfires
Windsor 3 - Drummondville 2 (OT)
Friday, May 22, 2009
I fully expected that the New Jersey Devils prospect was going to be named as the tournament MVP but that honor went to Taylor Hall instead. Henrique's 9 points was tied for the tournament high and in the semi-final game he was clutch, scoring the overtime winner against Drummondville. Henrique also had a pair of assists against Kelowna during the 2-1 round robin win that kept the Spitfires alive.
He wasn't Windsor's most talented, most dangerous, most physical or flashiest player but he was their most consistent game in and game out. Just like fellow Devils prospect Matt Halischuck rose to fame after the 2008 WJC, Henrique's stock is on the upward trend now too.
1. Jamie Benn (LW) - Kelowna Rockets
Kelowna 6 - Drummondville 4
Monday, May 18, 2009
The WHL playoff scoring leader could do no wrong early in the event and after picking up 3 points in the opener against Rimouski Jamie Benn was even better in game 2. Benn equaled a Memorial Cup record with a 5-point performance that included 4 goals - 1 shorthanded, 1 on the power play and 2 at even strength. With Drummondville pressing for an equalizer, Benn nearly struck for a 5th goal but saw his rink long shot ring off the post of the empty net.
Benn is a 5th round pick of the Dallas Stars who has blossomed since joining the Rockets partway through the 2007-08 season. He played for Canada at the 2009 WJC in Ottawa and has likely seen his last junior game as he heads up a level and becomes a pro.