Memorial Cup showdown on tap

It's a gorgeous, peaceful Sunday in Buffalo, but the mood on the ice for the Memorial Cup title in Rimouski could get nasty as Tyler Myers and WHL champion Kelowna Rockets do battle with OHL powerhouse Windsor Spitfires today at 4:30 EST. Here's a quick drive-by on what should be a fantastic championship showdown. Myers has been an absolute man-amongst-boys for the Rockets this postseason. With a high-level of confidence gained from his World Junior experience under veteran NHL man Pat Quinn, the months of January through May have seen the 6'8 rearguard's assessment morph from 'solid developing prospect' into 'surefire, shutdown blueliner by the time he's 23'. While the quick Windsor attack may keep Myers' focus on his end, look for the fleet-footed right-hander to gallop up ice when the space permits. After losing their first two games of the tournament, the Spits stayed alive with a 2-1 regulation win over the Rockets on Tuesday (not reported here. Myers was -2 with an assist. looked fatigued). With his team rested, Myers and main offensive weapon Jamie Benn (DAL) should be ready to enact revenge in the game that matters most. Players To Watch Windsor's line of LW Taylor Hall ('10), C Adam Henrique (NJ), and RW Greg Nemisz (CAL) have dictated a lightning pace since the Spits opening losses. With the speedy Hall leading the charge, the trio is quick to penetrate the zone where Nemisz's big body and Henrique's craftiness keep it there. Windsor LW Lane MacDermid is an undrafted 19-year old who could be a prime target for any club looking to address team toughness. The hard-skating 6'3, 200+ disturber exhibited his authoritative ability to finish checks in the semifinal when he absolutely leveled Drummondville's Ryan McKiernan into the boards. There's a lot to like about his game. Prized secondary option Andrei Loktionov (LA) has kept up with the top line, using slick stickhandling and sniping to score two goals and four assists through the tournament thus far. Highly touted puck mover Ryan Ellis is a name that many will see going to Buffalo on NHL mock draft sights. A generous 5'11, Ellis is cool and smart with the puck, but is not what the Sabres need in the first round of the draft. Along with WHL playoff MVP Myers and Mem Cup leading scorer Benn (3 GP 5-3-8), the Rockets offense is fueled by Mikael Backlund (CAL), Cody Almond (MIN), and Colin Long (PHX). Backlund remained in North America after skating for Sweden in the World Juniors, and gave Kelowna a much-needed playmaker to keep the opponent off balance. A potential 2nd-3rd round pick next month, undersized defenseman Tyson Barrie moves the puck very well and brings excellent vision to the power play, but is still prone to the occasional 5-5 mistake. He essentially is Kelowna's version of Windsor QB Ellis. Shunning a commitment to Denver of the WCHA, RW Stepan Novotny had a strong regular season in his draft year for Kelowna with 19 goals and 41 points, but has tapered off with just seven points in 25 post-season games. Collin Bowman is another 2009 eligible who is more of a stay-at-home type. At 6'2, 200 pounds, his decision making has improved enough to earn a look from teams in the 4th-5th round neighborhood come draft time.
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