What in the heck is some yank going to be able to say about Canada's Royal Bank Cup? Well folks, a guy has got to do what a guy has to do. JuniorHockey.com made a commitment to the level of play in Canada so we are going to have to take a shot at the RBC. Besides, a team loaded with Americans is favored win the thing anyway.
With all that said, let's get to it.
The 2012 Royal Bank Cup is the National Championship of the Canadian Junior Hockey League. This is the 42nd consecutive year since 1970 when the major junior guys decided to go their own way.
Winners of the Doyle Cup (Alberta & British Columbia), Anavet Cup (Manitoba & Saskatchewan), Dudley Hewitt Cup (Ontario), Fred Page Cup ( Maritimes, Quebec, and Central Canada Hockey League), and the host team all compete for the annual event.
This year's tournament is being hosted by the Saskatchewan Hockey League's Humboldt Broncos. The Broncos also won the Anavet Cup, opening the door for their Anavet opponent, the Portage Terriers (MJHL) to participate as well.
Joining Humboldt and Portage are the powerful Penticton Vees (BCHL), Woodstock Slammers (Maritimes), and JuniorHockey.com advertising partner Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL).
Regular Season 42-11-2-3 (1st Overall)
The host Broncos' road through the play-offs was not easy as the team has gone 16-7 during the post-season. Humboldt is led by Beaver Creek's Andrew Johnston. The 20 year-old had 81 points (29g, 52a) in 58 regular season games this season to go along with another 23 points (16g, 7a) in the post-season. Goaltender Matt Hrynkiw of Saskatoon has been amazing between the pipes. Through 27 regular season games he is 22-3-0-0 with four shutouts (.921SV% 2.28GAA).
Regular Season 42-15-0-5 (1st Overall)
The Terriers tore through the MJHL play-offs with a 12-3 record before running into Humboldt in the Anavet Cup. Portage is led by Brent Wold, a '93 left-shot forward from Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba. Wold had 71 points (26g, 45a) in 60 regular season games for the Terriers. Goaltender Shea Cooper ('91 South River, Ontario) is expected to get the bulk of the work at the RBC and has had a respectable season going 30-13-0 with a 2.75 GAA and .901 SV%.
Regular Season 54-4-0-2 (1st Overall)
The Vees have been untested during the postseason going 16-4 to capture the Doyle Cup. Penticton is absolutely loaded with young prospects. Seven of the top eight scorers have a year or more of remaining eligibility and all have committed to NCAA Division I programs. Goaltender Michael Garteig, from Prince George and a Quinnipiac prospect, has had an amazing season this year. In 45 regular season games the 20 year-old is 41-4-0 with a 1.93 GAA and .927 SV%.
Regular Season 45-6-0-1 (1st Overall)
Woodstock, well, slammed the competition in 3 of their 4 post season series', with only the Yarmouth Mariners providing the only competition in the Maritimes final. The Slammers are led by captain Andrew Langan. The 21-year-old from Quispamsis, NB has continued to lead his team through the play-offs with 18 points (8g, 10a) and will be looked upon to do the same thing at the RBC. Matt Murphy is the veteran goaltender that is expected to see the most action this weekend. The Rothesay, NB native has played tremendously in the play-offs, going 12-3 with a .940 SV% and 1.73 GAA.
Regular Season 37-11-0-2 (1st Overall)
The bad boys of Ontario have gone 15-2-1 through the post-season despite a number of off-ice incidents that has forced the NOJHL into suspending head coach Preston Mizzi and assistant Jamie Henderson. Zoltan Kovacks is running the show during the RBC and has the experience needed to get them through it. The Thunderbirds are led by Micky Sartoretto ( from Saginaw OHL), and goaltender John Kleinhans.
Soo-Penticton 3:00 PM
Humboldt-Woodstock 7:30 PM
Sunday May 6th
Soo-Portage 3:00 PM
Penticton-Humboldt 7:30 PM
Monday May 7th
Woodstock-Portage 7:30 PM
Tuesday May 8th
Humboldt-Soo 3:00 PM
Penticton-Woodstock 7:30 PM
Wednesday May 9th
Portage-Penticton 7:30 PM
Thursday May 10th
Woodstock-Soo 3:00 PM
Portage-Humboldt 7:30 PM
Saturday May 12th
TBD-TBD 2:00 PM
TBD-TBD 6:00 PM
Sunday May 13th
TBD-TBD TIME TBD
*MOUNTAIN TIME ZONE
By all indications, this is Penticton's cup to lose. With that said, I like the Soo Thunderbirds chances of making the semi-finals and could advance to the championship if they don't get paired with the Vees in the semi's.
What do you think?