As the host team for the Memorial Cup, there’s always added pressure to perform at the highest level. The Windsor Spitfires did it when it counted most, even after a heartbreaking seven-game series loss against the rival London Knights in the OHL playoffs. While the team was loaded up with talented prospects like Jeremy Bracco, and Graham Knott, homegrown stars like Mikhail Sergachev and Gabriel Vilardi shone just as bright.
As a co-captain alongside Jalen Chatfield, Jeremiah Addison played his best hockey of the year against the CHL’s best teams. His five goals, including a hat trick against the Erie Otters, had him tied for second in the tournament, trailing only Dylan Strome. For Addison this ends his junior career on the highest of highs, and he’ll head to Laval next year looking to make a major impact for the Rocket in their debut season.
As for Sergachev, he came exactly as advertised when the Canadiens drafted him ninth overall last summer. He was a stand out in terms of production, with one goal and three assists in his four games played. Yet it was his defensive play that drew rave reviews throughout the tournament, something that he’s quietly done all year long. The next step seems pretty clear for the young Russian, to crack the Canadiens’ line up in 2017-18. Given the level he played at for Windsor this season, is a very real possibility.
Both Addison and Sergachev join a list of fellow Habs prospects and teammates who have captured Memorial Cup gold in their careers. The list includes Shea Weber who won the title with the Kelowna Rockets in 2004. In more recent years fellow defencemen Nathan Beaulieu collected Memorial Cup gold with the Saint John Seadogs in 2011, while Victor Mete won the 2016 Cup with the rival London Knights.
Michael McCarron won the Cup in 2015 after being traded to the Oshawa Generals, who upset the Connor McDavid led Erie Otters in the OHL playoffs en route to their championship win. Finally, Zachary Fucale backstopped the powerhouse Halifax Mooseheads to a championship in 2013.
It was a great weekend for Canadiens prospects, with Michael McNiven collecting CHL Goaltender of the Year honours, Sergachev being named to the All-Star Team, and a fantastically entertaining Memorial Cup win for two prospects.