Well folks – the season for everyone with the Blue Jackets has come to an end when the Memorial Cup Final was played on Sunday. The CBJ had two prospects playing in the event – Josh Anderson played for the host London Knights and Kerby Rychel played for the OHL Champions Guelph Storm.
Josh Anderson-London Knights (Host)
Memorial Cup Stats 3GP 1-0-1 -2 6PIM
Josh and the Knights had been off since they were eliminated in the second round of the OHL playoffs by Guelph. Unfortunately, this section of the review is really one of those “if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all” moments. The Knights were a disappointment including being named the “worst on-ice Memorial Cup host ever”. They were only the second host to not win a game – but at least they did better than the other team winning that honor. The 03 Quebec Remparts scored 8 and allowed 12 where the Knights scored only four goals allowing 13.
In their three games, the Knights were shutout in a 1-0 loss to Val-d’Or despite taking 51 shots; then they lost 5-2 to Edmonton setting up a win or go home game against Guelph. In the 7-2 Guelph win, Josh picked up his only point of the tournament. In the second period with London trailing 3-1 Josh drove to the net and shot. Justin Nichols stopped it and Max Domi missed the rebound allowing the puck going to Brady Austin. Austin’s shot seems to have been tipped by Mitchell Marner. Nichols stopped this shot as well but the rebound got to Josh allowing him to snap a backhand to make it 3-2. This game ended Josh’s OHL career as he is more than likely headed to Springfield, Massachusetts next year (even though I think the RJ Umberger trade would open a Josh sized hole in the CBJ lineup – just throwing it out there).
In his OHL career Josh scored 122 points in 191 games after walking on with the Knights. Josh is only the second Jackets draft pick ever to play in three Memorial Cups joining Phillipe Dupuis who played in 03,04 and 06.
Kerby Rychel-Guelph Storm (OHL Champions)
Memorial Cup Stats 4GP 3-4-7 +2 0PIM
Kerby and the Storm had the longest layoff of the three league champs and opened against Edmonton Saturday night in London. Kerby started the scoring with just five seconds remaining in the first period, when he picked up the rebound of a Zach Leslie point shot to make it 1-0. In the second, after the Oil Kings scored two goals in 27 seconds, Kerby scored a goofy one. On a dump in, Kings goalie Tristan Jarry played the puck and got it to a dman who cleared it…right into Kerby bouncing off him into the net to tie it at two (watch the highlights you see Kerby give kind of a “I don’t know what happened” gesture). Kerby would be named first star in the 5-2 win, here’s his post game comments.
Up next was a game against the 1-0 Foreurs. Just a minute in the Storm’s top line worked its magic when Zack Mitchell went to the corner and found Robby Fabbri (please Jarmo I don’t ask for much) in the slot who had the attention of every one in green – even the mascot and he wasn’t even in London – sliding a perfect pass to Kerby who had a wide open net to tap the puck in to. In the second, after the Foreurs score two in 56 seconds, the Storm’s top line was at it again with Mitchell, Fabbri and Rychel. The goal came with Fabbri finishing off a pretty passing sequence. The Storm won the game 6-3.
Up next was a game against the host London Knights with the Storm picking up a 7-2 win ending the Knights tournament and clinching the Storm a spot in Sunday’s Cup Final. Kerby picked up an assist on Scott Kosmachuk’s hat trick goal when, on a three on two, Kerby got the puck from Fabbri and sent it to Kosmachuk (even though it looks like he didn’t even touch it) who slid it past Jake Patterson.
With some help from a twitter follower, I was able to attend the Championship game and make my first trip to London. Of the three OHL rinks I’ve been to it was the nicest. In the Final, a matchup between Guelph and the WHL Champ Edmonton Oil Kings, the outcome marked the first time since 2010 a non QMJHL team won the Cup. Kerby picked up another point in the first minute when Zack Mitchell stole a clearing attempt and started a three on two. He passed the puck to Kerby who passed to Fabbri who had a wide open net allowing him to make it 1-0 Storm. Early in the third, with Guelph trailing 4-2, Kerby came screaming off the bench and gathered a loose puck from a board battle. He then went behind the net and found Mitchell in front to make it 4-3. Sadly it wasn’t enough and the Storm would fall 6-3.
Kerby finished tied for second in tournament scoring and was named to the all star team. Kerby took the loss in his final junior game hard sitting on the bench (shown crying on the scoreboard way too long London or Sportsnet camera guy) with his linemates while his teammates waited for the Oil Kings to line up for the handshakes. Kerby, like Josh, is off to Springfield even though he’ll probably get a long look in training camp (again Umberger trade=Rychel size hole but that’s me). Kerby ends his junior career with 272 points in 256 games played including two 40 goal seasons.
There you have it folks, another season of my ramblings. I’ll be back soon with my CBJ prospect awards and we are a little less than a month away from the NHL draft so soon I’ll have a new batch of guys to keep track of.