Josh Nicholls' first-period shot is stopped by Anthony Stolarz's dropped stick (Liam Richards, The Canadian Press)Friday Night's 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup opener between the Saskatoon Blades and the London Knights certainly looked like a contest between the Ontario Hockey League's "Evil Empire" and a team that hadn't played a game in 51 days. Not to say that the Knights ran up the score early on, because about the only player "ring rust" hadn't affected was Saskatoon goaltender Andrey Makarov, who held the Blades in it despite the team getting just four of the game's first 21 chances before the host team settled in.
Josh Nicholls opened the scoring midway through the first on a goal that went against the general flow of play, but London struck twice before the end of the period. THey got goals from Brett Welychka and Seth Griffith before the period was out. Despite Nicholls scoring again in the second, Nikita Zadorov tapped in a powerplay goal early in the third period that stood up as the winner as London shut the door in the third period. That score held as the Knights took the 3-2 final in the opener.
No. 1 Star - Seth Griffith, London Knights
The most noticeable player in the debut game was likely the Boston Bruins' prospect Seth Griffith. He was all over the ice in the first two periods, scoring a goal late in the first period off of a Bo Horvat-created turnover and set up a couple of nice chances.
Griffith also assisted on Nikita Zadorov's winning goal. Zadorov had all kinds of room in front of the net, but it was the work of Griffith and the remainder of the London powerplay keeping the puck to one side so Saskatoon gradually shifted over... leaving Zadorov open a couple of times on Makarov's right side. The second time was the charm.Read More »from Memorial Cup 2013: Griffith paces Knights offence in 3-2 opening night victory – Friday’s 3 Stars