MacKenzie Entwistle is hoping to take things a step further at this year’s Memorial Cup.
As a refresher, the Memorial Cup is an annual junior hockey round-robin tournament which includes a host team selected by the Canadian Hockey League, and the champions of the CHL’s three member leagues: the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and Western Hockey League (WHL).
This year’s event is hosted by the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, and include Entwistle’s Guelph Storm, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and the Prince Albert Raiders.
The Blackhawks forward prospect was in Regina, Saskatchewan for last year’s tournament with the Hamilton Bulldogs, who were bumped in the semifinal game by the host Pats.
Here’s how Entwistle and his Storm teammates fared in the opening two games.
Game 1: Guelph 5, Rouyn-Noranda 2
Entwistle: 1 goal, 1 secondary assist, 3 shots
St. Louis Blues prospect Alexey Toropchenko did a lot of the heavy lifting, erasing an early one goal deficit with a first-period hat trick. Entwistle’s goal came early in the second period, when he buried a one-time shot off a nice pass from Isaac Ratcliffe.
Entwistle later recorded the secondary assist on Canadiens prospect Nick Suzuki’s goal, and was featured in a postgame interview that largely focused on his teammates. He did say this in regards to his Memorial Cup experience:
“We’ve played 92 games together as a team, and the biggest thing is smiling, (treat it) as any other game, having fun.”
You can watch the whole thing here:
Game 2: Halifax 4, Guelph 2
Entwistle: 0 points, 1 shot
The second of a back-to-back is always tough, especially after a long and emotional playoff run and when the home crowd is decidedly not in your favour.
Prior to the game, Entwistle offered this digital diary entry:
What doesn’t help is giving up a key shorthanded goal when the game is tied midway through. Entwistle didn’t play a part in this, but it’s worth sharing because the goal is bananas and Raphael Lavoie is the top ranked draft-eligible player competing in the tournament, slotted 20th among North American skaters per NHL Central Scouting.
Entwistle’s tournament stats:
1 goal (even strength)
1 assist (even strength, secondary)
What’s next for the Storm?
Guelph’s 1-1 record means they can advance to the semifinals with a win over Prince Albert on Tuesday; failing that, their only hope to advance would be a tiebreaker between the bottom two teams, if necessary.
Tuesday’s game will begin at 6 p.m. and will air on the NHL Network.
Tiebreaker (if necessary): Thursday, May 23 - 6 p.m.
Semifinal: Friday, May 24 - 6 p.m.
Final: Sunday, May 26 - 6 p.m.
All times Central