SASKATOON, Sask. — London located a little of its swagger, while Saskatoon staggered to the finish line.
The tiebreaker game was an open-and-shut case, with with Alex Broadhurst, Bo Horvat, Chris Tierney and Brett Welychka each posting two-point nights during the Knights' 6-1 win over the emotionally spent Blades. It creates a London-Portland Winterhawks semifinal Friday, with the Halifax Mooseheads awaiting the victor.
"It's still not our goal and it's still not the same team that gave us the 9-2 beating," said Knights forward Ryan Rupert, alluding to the Mooseheads.
"Coming back from a 9-2 loss with a big one is a confidence-booster. It's also big for our goalie [Jake Patterson] to let one [goal] in after they've been a bit shaky."
In a 24-hour span, the Blades went from needing to win one period to advance directly to the final to being eliminated rather easily. Their unravelling accelerated after a fruitless four-minute power play in the second — London had three shots on the penalty kill while only giving up one — followed an undisciplined penalty that led to Seth Griffith burying the 2-0 goal.
"Tonight, we ran out of gas," said Blades coach-GM Lorne Molleken, whose team went 1-3 while being outscored 15-9. "I thought that we played fairly well in the three round-robin games even though we were outchanced in every game. [Goalie Andrey] Makarov was tremendous. After that Halifax game [which the Blades won on Sunday] there was so much emotion around it with the team and the fans. We came down and we just couldn't regain that emotion and that energy. Our players have nothing to be ashamed about. After 51 days after hard practice [after the Blades were swept in the first round of the WHL playoffs], they left it on the ice."
Saskatoon is only the second host team in the past decade to fall short of the semifinal, joining the 2009 Rimouski Océanic. Eight of the previous nine host teams went to the final. On with the post-game questions:Read More »from 2013 Memorial Cup: London Knights win, Saskatoon punches out; post-game questions