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Unbeaten Knights beat winless Warriors 5-4 at Memorial Cup

The Memorial Cup is displayed during the opening ceremony and Cup Parade of the Memorial Cup 2024 hockey tournament at Jolt Event Park in downtown Saginaw, Mich., Thursday, May 23, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/The Flint Journal via AP-Julian Leshay Guadalupe

SAGINAW — Sam O'Reilly had a goal and assist, Denver Barkey and Easton Cowan each chipped in with two assists, and the London Knights defeated the Moose Jaw Warriors 5-4 in Memorial Cup action on U.S. Memorial Day Monday.

The Ontario Hockey League champion Knights also got goals from Ruslan Gazizov, Sam Dickinson, Landon Sim and Kasper Halttunen to improve to 2-0 in the round-robin portion of the four-team championship tournament.

Ethan Semeniuk scored twice for the Western Hockey League champion Warriors, who have lost both of their games at the Dow Event Center. Denton Mateychuk and Martin Rysavy also scored for the Warriors, who trailed 2-1 after the first period and 5-3 heading into the third.

It's the first time the Warriors have ever played in the Memorial Cup.

The Knights were outshot by the Warriors 30-28 and went 1-for-2 on the power play. The Warriors were 0-for-4 on the power play.

The Warriors play the Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League champion Drummondville Voltigeurs on Tuesday night in a battle of 0-2 teams. The loser will be eliminated, while the winner advances to Friday's semifinal against either the Knights or host Saginaw Spirit.

“That's what we just talked about in the dressing room, it's quarterfinals (on Tuesday)," said Moose Jaw coach Mark O'Leary. "That's a pretty good spot to be in.

"I mean, 0-2 is no fun. Winning is way more fun. Everybody knows that. But the way this tournament works, you're in a situation where in one game, you're in the semifinals, and at any tournament that you go into — whether it's Memorial Cup or the World Juniors — if you told me you had a chance to win a quarterfinal game. I'll take that."

The Knights play the host Spirit on Wednesday night in a battle of 2-0 teams. The winner earns a berth in Sunday's championship final, while the loser plays in Friday's semifinal.

The Knights eliminated the Spirit in six games during the OHL semifinals earlier this month.

POKE CHECKS: The Warriors were beaten 5-4 by the Spirit in Friday's tournament opener, while the Knights beat the Voltigeurs 4-0 on Saturday. The Spirit squeezed past the Voltigeurs 4-3 on Sunday. … This is the first time in the 104-year of the Memorial Cup that the championship tournament is being played in Michigan.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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