Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The masked men of the Mastercard Memorial Cup

For me it's the hardest trophy in hockey to win.  Not only do you have to grind through 4 rounds in your own league, but then face at minimum 2 teams from a different league to become Memorial Cup Champions.  That means goaltenders not only getting used to new shooters, but a whole new style of skill.  Here's a look at the pipe men you will see starting Friday.

Photo: Marc Henwood
Saint John - Mathieu Corbeil -He finished 2nd in gaa and save per cent age during the post season and rides in with the #1 team  in the country.  The defending champions were backstopped to a Memorial Cup title by Jacob De Serres last year, a guy who was waived through the WHL.  Corbeil is bigger and better, giving the tournament favourites confidence on the back end.

Shawinigan - Girard/Dubeau -Whoever starts for the host team will likely have a short leash as the Cateractes don't seem shy to start either goaltender. Gabriel Girard and Alex Dubeau nearly split the regular season starts and the post season wasn't much different.  During the first 68 games they were 2/3 in goals against average and while the younger Dube had better GAA/Save per cent age, his elder is a perfect post season 4-0.  So who would you start?

Photo: Aaron Bell
London - Michael Houser - He led the league in wins, minutes played and saves during the regular season while finishing top 5 in goal against average and save per cent age.   For that Michael Houser was named OHL MVP.  The numbers are impressive and they might be a product of a self described snub by team USA at the World Junior Championship.   That kind of motivation could get Houser a look from NHL teams after this season, as he's twice passed through the draft.  A solid tournament likely won't mean teams miss out on him for a 3rd time.

Edmonton - Laurent Brossoit - He was the Eastern conference and WHL playoff MVP and anyone who watched Edmonton during the post season knows he is the biggest reason for anyone picking them to win it all.  The Flames 6th rounder has the the ability to win a game on his own and has had goal judges on edge out west by taking away sure goals all post season long.

I have only watched Brossoit on a regular basis, but if the other 4 goalies listed here are even half as good as he is then goal scorers could be shaking their heads quite a bit starting Friday.

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