With the round-robin set to close tomorrow at the 2022 Memorial Cup, one team already knows its fate. The WHL champion Edmonton Oil Kings are out of the top Canadian junior tournament, dropping their third game of the round-robin 4-2 against the OHL champion Hamilton Bulldogs.
The host Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL will play their league champion, the Shawinigan Cataractes, tomorrow. The winner of that game will advance directly to the 2022 Memorial Cup Final on June 29, while the loser will face Hamilton in the semi-final on Monday.
Edmonton bows out of the tournament without a regulation win. Their two points in the standings came courtesy of a 4-3 overtime win against Saint John.
It’s a shocking exit for the WHL champion, who terrorized the league with a 50-14-4 record during the regular season. But their offense was stricken heavily when it was announced that leading scorer Dylan Guenther, a 2021 first-round selection of the Arizona Coyotes, would miss the tournament due to injury. Still, the squad had a strong core with NHL prospects Sebastian Cossa (Detroit Red Wings) in goal, Kaiden Guhle (Montreal Canadiens) and Luke Prokop (Nashville Predators) on defense, and Jake Neighbours (St. Louis Blues) and Justin Sourdif (Florida Panthers) rounding out an all-star lineup. The team’s depth was nothing to scoff at either, with multiple other NHL prospects and WHL veterans playing big roles.
The WHL’s streak of Memorial Cup losses, which dates back now to 2014 with the Oil Kings, will continue.