Somebody forgot to tell the Spokane Chiefs that they had the night off and the Gatineau Olympiques paid for it with their last gasp. The champs of the WHL, the Chiefs sent the QMJHL champs the Olympiques out of the 2008 Memorial Cup with a 3-1 win.
The win gave the Chiefs a perfect 3-0 record in the round robin portion of the Memorial Cup as now they get to sit back and watch host Kitchener Rangers and Belleville Bulls play each other twice before the Chiefs face whichever team wins Friday's semi-final between the 2 OHL rivals.
For Gatineau this was a disappointing end to what was a very good playoff run which earned the Olympiques their 7th QMJHL championship. The Olympiques did not play badly during their 3 games in Kitchener as their own coach Benoit Groulx acknowledged that it was not poor play but just not getting the breaks that one needs to win in a short series like this.
We agree up to a point as we think that the 3 other teams in the Memorial Cup found a way to slow down Claude Giroux and his linemates that the teams in the QMJHL were unable to do. The Olympiques did not have the depth in their lineup to overcome the size and strength of the other teams.
For Spokane, only those who did not know all that this franchise has gone though over the last several years thought that the Chiefs would take it easy since they had a berth in the finals already clinched. The veterans on the Chiefs along with their coaching staff made sure there was no let up by the teams.
It was just 2 seasons ago when the Chiefs were tied for the worst record in the WHL on the 2nd of 2 seasons in a row without the playoffs. The Chiefs have struggled on and off the ice so this is a team of players who are not taking anything for granted.
Maybe it is all the struggles that the Chiefs have gone though is what makes them appreciate what they have at the moment. All we know is that just one win is what it will take to give the WHL their second straight Memorial Cup Champions.
Now the Chiefs get to rest while they sit back and watch the OHL champs the Kitchener Rangers take on the Belleville Bulls. The Bulls are the same team the Rangers just defeated in a thrilling 7 game series so the next 2 games are going to be a couple of dandy affairs.
If anyone thinks that Wednesday's game will have no meaning then they too are not realizing just how hard these 2 teams went at it during the OHL playoffs. We are going to be just like the Chiefs, sit back and enjoy the show we expect both teams to put on.
With Gatineau's loss our own prediction of a Gatineau/Kitchener final is long gone so we will stick to projecting prospects and stop trying to predict games.
3 hours ago