Game 5- Oshawa Generals vs Kelowna Rockets
Final: Oshawa 2 – Kelowna 1
After cruising to a fairly easy victory the night before, the Rockets were in for a more difficult matchup with the Generals. In the end, Oshawa came out on top, going 3-0 in the tournament and clinching a berth in the Memorial Cup Final. They are truly the best team in this tournament, and the close scores does not accurately represent their ability to control and dominate the game. By no means is this a bold prediction, but Oshawa should win this year’s championship.
Kelowna’s top line had good flashes. In the end, the Rockets simply did not have the depth to compete with Oshawa shift after shift. Coach Smith did a great job of juggling his lines to shut down the Rockets. Oshawa was once again dominant in puck possession, but really took their transition game to another level. They were extremely quick getting up ice and generating odd-man rushes.
Kelowna’s top line was able to generate good scoring chances after getting settled in the offensive zone. Great passing from Draisaitl, Merkley, Morrissey, and Bowey led to quality looks. In the end, Oshawa goaltender Ken Appleby was on top of his game and shut the door. The defining moment of this game came late in the third, when Kelowna had a 5on3 powerplay. Some big saves from Appleby as well as some blown chances prevented them from forcing overtime.
Cole Cassels: He was extremely impressive in the OHL finals shutting down Connor McDavid and providing some offence. Since then, he had been good, but this game he was unequivocally the best player on the ice. This Vancouver Canucks 4th round pick is a steal, and his skillset should translate to professional hockey nicely. He was a thorn in Draisaitl’s side all game, taking away his space, and actively using his stick to block plays and lanes. He was active on the forecheck, forcing the Kelowna defence to rush their plays, which led to turnovers.
Michael Dal Colle: He truly displayed all of his offensive prowess this game. He was extremely quick breaking out of his zone, and was a real threat off the rush. His shot, speed, and creativity are excellent. His hand-eye coordination stood out in my eyes, as he was very effective taking the puck away from opponents trying to carry. Matched with his quickness, this allowed him to send the play the otherway, leaving Kelowna’s defence flat-footed, which led to quality scoring opportunities.
Rourke Chartier: Chartier has really made a name for himself this season as one of the WHL’s best snipers. He has a shoot-first mentality with a hard shot. Playing with skilled puck-movers such as Bowey, Merkley, Morrissey, and Draisaitl has really given him a chance to flourish in that role. His teammates set him up nicely many times, but he struggled to finish. He is a dangerous offensive threat, but seemed to have an off-night when it came to finishing. He doesn’t drive the play, but can be effective in a finishing role.
Jackson Whistle: The Kelowna goaltender did very well, and without him this game would not have been close. He faced many odd-man rushes, mainly led by proven scorers Tobias Lindberg and Michael Dal Colle. His lateral movements were quick and accurate, and he seemed to track the puck nicely.