Montreal Canadiens prospect Owen Beck and the Peterborough Petes have enjoyed one of the most surprising playoff runs in recent Canadian Hockey League history.
But despite their status as underdogs at the Memorial Cup, they should not be taken lightly. It’s wise to remember this is the team that easily dispatch the Ottawa 67’s and the London Knights in the OHL playoffs, two of the best teams in the country.
The Petes carried their momentum into their first game of the Memorial Cup, a matchup with fellow Canadiens prospect Jared Davidson and the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Peterborough took an important 2-1 lead midway through the second period thanks to a highlight reel goal by Beck, but Davidson quickly responded by setting up the tying goal for the Thunderbirds.
From that point on, the game was dominated by Seattle, who fought hard to earn a 6-3 win.
Let’s take a closer look at the play from both Canadiens prospects.
There’s Regular-Season Beck, and there’s Playoff Beck.
Of the two, Playoff Beck certainly approaches the game with the truculence of a player that is intent on earning a job in the NHL next season.
Beck’s physicality once again came to the forefront midway through the second period Saturday night, and it once again led to a penalty, though you’d be hard-pressed to argue he deserved the two-minute minor that resulted from the collision with Thunderbirds captain Lucas Ciona.
You’ll remember I was of the opinion that Beck’s slew foot in the OHL final should have carried over to the first game of the Memorial Cup.
Not necessarily because it was particularly vicious, though I do hate seeing any sort of slew foot, it’s an intrinsically dangerous play. The real issue is that it’s ridiculous the NHL is acting as the governing body for the CHL, which is the official governing body of the OHL. That defeats the point of a governing body in the first place.
With that in mind, Beck’s kneeing penalty was far from a vicious play. He led with his shoulder and his feet were planted. Unfortunately, Ciona did not see Beck coming and tried to adjust at the last moment to avoid the hit, which led to the dangerous knee-on-knee contact.
Fresh out of the box, Beck decided to take matters into his own hands just a few seconds later.
The cerebral forward scored one of the nicest goals of the CHL playoffs, cutting through the neutral zone like a hot knife through butter to score an end-to-end effort that gave Peterborough a 2-1 lead.
It was a relatively quiet game for Canadiens prospect Davidson, though in his case that means he only participated in one scoring play. In other words, he was very good, but it’s difficult to stand out on a roster that has so much talent.
His assist led to an easy goal for Kyle Crnkovic and a crucial shift in momentum since it was shortly after Beck’s highlight-reel marker in the second period.
From that point on, the Thunderbirds never looked back.
It’s worth noting how easily Davidson pulled the Petes defence out of position, creating enough time and space for Crnkovic for him to file his taxes before he unleashed his perfect shot.
We all know about his great one-timer, but creating time and space for his teammates is also one of Davidson’s specialties, owing to his fantastic offensive instincts.
On The Docket
The Peterborough Petes will face the host Kamloops Blazers on Sunday in their second round-robin game. It’s a crucial matchup for both teams, as the losing club will have a very difficult time avoiding elimination. The puck drop is scheduled for 6 PM ET.
The Seattle Thunderbirds will tackle their biggest challenge of the CHL playoffs, as they’re set to face the powerhouse Quebec Remparts in their second game, scheduled for Monday at 9 PM ET. The very same Remparts team that eliminated Canadiens prospect Joshua Roy and the Sherbrooke Phoenix in a four-game sweep during the QMJHL playoffs.
Both games will be broadcast by RDS and TSN.