Canadiens Prospects Beck & Davidson On Cusp Of Championship
Thanks to another fantastic effort in Game Four, Montreal Canadiens prospect Owen Beck is on the verge of winning the OHL Championship.
But he’s not the only Canadiens prospect who may be heading to the Memorial Cup. More on that later.
Game Four, OHL Championship. Peterborough Petes vs. London Knights
Petes head coach Rob Wilson tends to use Beck on as many faceoffs as humanly possible, a strategy that has paid off repeatedly throughout the OHL playoffs.
Beck won almost 70 percent of the faceoffs in which he participated on Wednesday (17/25), and while there’s certainly something to be said about putting too much trust into a player who excels at the dot, in Beck’s case it’s simply one tool in his versatile skill set.
Not only is he a defensive stalwart, but he’s also become an impressive physical presence in the lineup, throwing more hits in the series against the Knights than he did in the final stretch of the regular season.
It’s crucial in this particular series because, for the most part, the Knights have easily overpowered their opponents, which usually leads to a significant amount of frustration from the opposing team.
But despite taking an early lead, it was the Knights who lost their cool on Wednesday night. What’s more, they were playing catch-up throughout the entire game, an unfamiliar situation for a team that’s used to being the front-runner.
Beck scored the second goal of the game for Peterborough, his eighth goal of the playoffs. It was a fantastic play that involved perfect puck movement, leaving Knights goalie Zach Bowen with no chance to make the save.
It also marked the second game in a row in which Beck scored.
Simply put, the Peterborough Petes are peaking at the perfect time, and Beck’s play in all three zones is a big reason why the Petes won Game Four by a score of 5-3.
He’s also one of the driving forces why the Petes may end up being one of the most surprising teams to win the OHL Championship.
Guess who? It's Owen Beck! Back-to-back goals in the OHL Championship.
Big goal for the Petes, too. Great puck movement. 2-1 lead for Peterborough. pic.twitter.com/ZbqjS3nZg2
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) May 18, 2023
Even though London outshot Peterborough significantly, unlike the other games in the series it was really a matter of score effects rather than a lucky win by the Petes.
For the first time in a long time, the Petes controlled the momentum throughout the first two periods. London made a strong push in the third period, as evidenced by the 26 shots on net they took in the final frame, but it was too little, too late.
Logan Mailloux was a big part of the push, and as per tradition, he had a ridiculous number of shots.
12, to be exact.
With the 12 shots in the bank, Mailloux now has 97 shots in 19 playoff games, the second-highest result in the league. Only his teammate, forward Ryan Winterton, has produced more shots (103).
He’s also quite adept at creating high-danger scoring chances when the shooting lanes close down. He sends pucks a few feet wide, banking them off the boards toward the crease, giving his forwards an opportunity to shoot from some of the highest-scoring areas on the ice.
One of the biggest issues for the Canadiens prospect is how often he ends up in the penalty box. But you’d be hard-pressed to argue his penalty for crosschecking on Wednesday night was anything more than him being much stronger than his opponent.
Those of you who have followed my prospect reports will remember I’ve been rather harsh when it comes to Mailloux’s defensive play. Every game yields evidence that he struggles in the defensive zone, especially when he doesn’t have much time to make a decision.
There’s no doubt his offensive game is among the best in the league, but Mailloux, who earned two assists in Game Four, does have a hard time in his own zone.
It’s still an issue and will be the biggest hurdle when it comes to making the jump to professional hockey, but the play in which he was called for cross-checking was actually very encouraging until he was sent to the box.
He kept Tucker Robertson to the outside of the ice and did not allow the Petes to establish a cycle.
WHL Championship, Game Four. Seattle Thunderbirds vs. Winnipeg Ice
The Winnipeg Ice are one of the best teams in recent Jr. hockey history.
And yet, Canadiens prospect Jared Davidson and the Seattle Thunderbirds have carved them up with ease, as if they were practicing for a Thanksgiving feast with an electric knife that’s running off a gas-powered generator.
Game Four ended with a 4-2 win by Seattle, who is now one win away from earning a Memorial Cup berth. Davidson was held to just one assist, a smart pass to secure the win in an empty net, but he provided the Thunderbirds with the spark and physical presence that they’ve come to expect from the feisty forward.
Whenever Davidson is on the ice, great things happen to the Thunderbirds.
I’d even say the Davidson (No.29) shifts in which the puck did not end up near, or in the opposing net have been few and far between this season.
He’s the hockey version of Toucan Sam. But rather than following his nose to a sugar-filled cereal, Davidson follows his nose to the net.
I’m still not convinced he will eventually ascend to the NHL, but we simply cannot ignore what he brings to the table: intensity, net drive, and leadership.
Oh, and points.
His style of play is exactly what most coaches want to see from energy players on the Canadiens roster. And it will serve him incredibly well once he begins his AHL career.
There are other, more talented players on the Thunderbirds roster. That’s why they’re up there with Nathan MacKinnnon’s Mooseheads and the 2005 London Knights in terms of the best teams to ever play in the CHL.
But few match Davidson’s desire to win.
What Just Happened?
Junior hockey is incredibly entertaining, and not just because there’s a bevy of goals, an endless stream of hits, and fast-paced hockey.
Every once in a while you’ll see something that has never happened before in a hockey game, and on Wednesday night we were treated to an altercation between Knights forward Ryan Humphrey and…the penalty box attendant.
They eventually overcame their differences, but it was one of the wildest things I’ve seen in the several decades that I’ve been consuming hockey at an alarming rate.
ryan humphrey isn’t happy about the call and has a pretty heated argument with the box attendant. luckily, they managed to sort things out. later in the game, humphrey takes another penalty… maybe to see his new friend in the box again? pic.twitter.com/1rGmPuEz9W
— ava (@teapottoffoIi) May 18, 2023
On The Docket
Thanks to 3-1 series leads, Both Beck and Davidson will have a chance to clinch the Championship in their respective leagues on Friday night, and consequently, both Canadiens prospects are on the cusp of a Memorial Cup berth.
The puck drop for Game Five of the OHL Championship will take place at 7:00 PM ET, while the fifth game of the WHL Championship is scheduled for 10 PM ET.
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