Sunaya Sapurji

  • Memorial Cup final: Generals get it done thanks to unsung heroes

    Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    QUEBEC CITY — It wasn’t too long ago that Anthony Cirelli was playing AA hockey in the Greater Toronto Hockey League. He moved to AAA for his minor midget year and spent last season playing major midget.

    On Sunday night, the 17-year-old walk-on scored the game winner in overtime to hand the Oshawa Generals their first Memorial Cup title in 25 years.

    “Words can’t describe what I’m feeling right now,” said Cirelli, on the ice after the Generals defeated the Western Hockey League-champion Kelowna Rockets 2-1. “I’m just really proud of the team. We worked all year round for this and this was our goal.

    “I’m in shock. We just won the Memorial Cup.”

    Cirelli scored both goals for the Ontario Hockey League champions, including the decider a mere 1:28 into the first overtime period. Kelowna goalie Jackson Whistle stopped overager Chris Carlisle’s initial shot, but the rebound came out to Cirelli who shook off a Rockets defender to whack the puck into the net. It was a remarkable finish for an undrafted, unheralded player who persevered despite not having the same kind of pedigree as many of his Generals teammates.

    That’s high praise from Smith, who stands a towering 6-foot-6.

    “It’s awesome.”

  • McDavid's hardware haul includes CHL player of the year

    Sunaya Sapurji at Buzzing The Net 3 days ago

    QUEBEC CITY — At the rate Connor McDavid is winning awards, his family might need to add an addition on to their home to house all his hardware.

    On Saturday evening, McDavid picked up three more honours at the CHL awards banquet, winning the league’s player of year, scholastic player of the year, and top NHL prospect.

    In the Ontario Hockey League this season, McDavid finished third in scoring with 44 goals and 120 points in 47 games. He played 21 fewer games than Erie Otters teammate Dylan Strome who won the OHL’s scoring title with 129 points. Strome shared the CHL’s top scorer award with Conor Garland of the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats.

    McDavid’s season with the Otters ended in the OHL final when they were defeated in five games by the champion Oshawa Generals. In the meantime, the 18-year-old forward has been focusing on school and on getting ready for the NHL combine which takes place in Buffalo, N.Y., next weekend.

    “It’s exciting,” said McDavid of the draft. “It’s fun that’s now a month away. I can start to look ahead and kind of see what happens obviously the combine is kind of the final step towards that. It’ll be fun. It’ll be a good week.”

  • Rockets off to Memorial Cup final with rout of exhausted Remparts

    Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    QUEBEC CITY — The Kelowna Rockets are one step closer to the Memorial Cup. And two of their players – Madison Bowey and Josh Morrissey – are closer to joining an elite group of hockey players.

    The Rockets advanced to the Memorial Cup final thanks to a 9-3 drubbing of the host Quebec Remparts. They’ll face the OHL champion Oshawa Generals in a showdown for the Canadian Hockey League championship on Sunday.

    “We’re probably considered the underdogs going into this game on Sunday,” said Bowey. “So we’ll take that approach and I think it’ll be a great matchup. I know it’ll be two highly touted teams and two teams battling for a Memorial Cup, so it’ll be a great game.

    A Kelowna victory on Sunday would give both Bowey and Morrissey a Memorial Cup, a gold medal at the world junior championship and a league (WHL) title in the same season. The last player to achieve the feat was Anaheim Ducks defenceman Cam Fowler in 2010 with the Windsor Spitfires and Team USA.

    “It’s going to be tough but we’re ready for the challenge for sure.”

    “I’m just going to play my game,” said Bowey of the play. “It’s up to the refs and luckily he didn’t (make the call). I guess the fans didn’t like it too much.”


  • Guy Lafleur takes trip down Memorial Cup memory lane at Colisee

    Sunaya Sapurji at Buzzing The Net 4 days ago

    QUEBEC CITY — Guy Lafleur has many memories attached to his time playing in the Colisee in Quebec City. It was here, in 1971, that he was a part of the Quebec Remparts team that won the Memorial Cup.

    It was a different time for hockey, as the Remparts won the Eastern Canadian Championship because the St. Catharines Black Hawks forfeited their series after Game 5 because of threats from the Front de libération du Québec. The Remparts ended up beating Edmonton in a best-of-three Memorial Cup final played at the Colisee.

    “We were considered the ‘Black Aces’ of junior hockey because they were saying we can’t compete with the Ontario teams or the team from out west,” said Lafleur, who scored 130 goals in 62 games that season. “I think we proved that year we could compete against any team.”

    Lafleur held court with reporters on the ice at the Colisee before the semifinal between the WHL champion and the QMJHL host Remparts. The historic Colisee is scheduled for demolition as the new 18,482-seat state-of-the-art Videotron Centre, just next door, is set to open in the fall.

    That included former Canadiens top pick Rejean Houle who tried to convince Lafleur to leave the Remparts.

  • Remparts rebound to eliminate Rimouski and reach Memorial Cup semifinal

    Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    QUEBEC CITY — When Frederik Gauthier was drafted by the Rimouski Oceanic in 2011, it was general manager Philippe Boucher who welcomed him to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

    Some four years later, it was almost fitting that it was Boucher – now the GM and coach of the Quebec Remparts – who was the first to hug Gauthier at the end of his accomplished junior career.

    The Remparts beat the QMJHL-champion Oceanic 5-2 in the tiebreaker of the Memorial Cup to end their season and send them back to Rimouski. Host Quebec will now face the WHL-champion Kelowna Rockets in the semifinal on Friday evening. The winner of that game will play on Sunday in the final against the undefeated Oshawa Generals, the champions from Ontario.

    It was the 19th meeting between the Remparts and Oceanic this season, which included a thrilling seven-game President’s Cup final that was won by Rimouski in a thrilling double-overtime Game 7.

    “They know us inside out,” said Remparts goalie Zach Fucale, who made 30 saves in Thursday’s win. “It’s obviously a huge rivalry and it was a battle until the end.”

    The Oceanic also bested Quebec on Wednesday night in order to force the tiebreaker.


  • Boucher isn't worried about being fined after calling out QMJHL officials at Memorial Cup

    Sunaya Sapurji at Buzzing The Net 5 days ago

    QUEBEC CITY — Quebec Remparts head coach Philippe Boucher lashed out at officials on Wednesday night. And on Thursday morning, he wasn’t backing down from the criticism.

    The brunt of his ire was directed at the referees from the Quebec Major Junior League - Olivier Gouin and Jonathan Alarie – who worked Game 6 between the Remparts and Rimouski Oceanic. In that game the Oceanic went 2-for-6 on the power play.

    In his post-game comments he took a shot at Richard Trottier, the QMJHL’s director of officiating. There’s no question Boucher will be fined for his outburst, but he’s not concerned.

    “I’m fine with that,” said Boucher of the impending financial sanction. “It’s something I had to get off my chest. We’re threatened by a $5,000 fine in our league if we say anything so it muzzles us. So we can’t really say anything in the playoffs, because we’re threatened to be fined - major fines – all the time.”

    UPDATE: On Thursday night, Boucher was fined $10,000 for comments the CHL deemed " unacceptable " and " detrimental to the best interest" of the CHL and Memorial Cup.

    “Something like that,” said Boucher. “I don’t want to take a chance and get fined again.”

  • Remparts lose their cool and chance to knock QMJHL rivals out of Memorial Cup

    Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    QUEBEC CITY — It was part deflection, part criticism and more than a few sour grapes for Philippe Boucher.

    The Quebec Remparts general manager and head coach lashed out at officials after his team’s 4-0 loss to the Rimouski Oceanic on Wednesday night in the final game of the round robin at the Memorial Cup. The Rimouski victory forced a tournament tiebreaker, which means both teams will go at it again on Thursday evening to decide who will face the Kelowna Rockets in the semifinal. The OHL’s Oshawa Generals have already advanced to Sunday’s final.

    Boucher was incensed with the referees from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League – Olivier Gouin and Jonathan Alarie – who handed out six power plays to the Oceanic on which they scored twice.

    There’s a bit of back story to Boucher’s critique. Both Gouin and Alarie worked Game 7 of the QMJHL final between Quebec and Rimouski. That game was in double overtime when Quebec defenceman Matt Murphy was assessed a tripping penalty which put Rimouski on the power play. The Oceanic scored with the advantage to win the game and the QMJHL championship.

    “It’s either them or us – the choice is pretty easy.”


  • Montreal Canadiens prospect Michael McCarron comes up big at Memorial Cup

    Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    QUEBEC CITY — It has been quite the reversal of fortune for Michael McCarron.

    One year ago, the 20-year-old forward was a member of the London Knights, the Memorial Cup hosts who failed to post a single win at the tournament. This time around, however, McCarron is a member of the undefeated Oshawa Generals, who punched their ticket to the Memorial Cup final on Tuesday night with a 2-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets.

    So, what changed in 12 months?

    “Last year I was with London and there was a lot of pressure on home ice,” said McCarron. “We lost our first game and I think we were holding our sticks a little too tight for the rest of the tournament. This tournament we got off to a great start and that’s the big key there I think.”

    The Generals will get four days off before playing in Sunday’s tournament finale. The last time Oshawa won the Memorial Cup was in 1990 in Hamilton. That Oshawa team was led by Eric Lindros and twice defeated the Kitchener Rangers in overtime thrillers to highlight what many junior hockey observers believe to be the best Memorial Cup every played.

    “It feels amazing (to go 3-0),” said McCarron. “We knew we could do it and it’s a pretty exciting time right now.

  • Roy hopes for NHL in Quebec City during hometown celebration

    Sunaya Sapurji at Buzzing The Net 7 days ago

    QUEBEC CITY — It was a special homecoming for Patrick Roy on Tuesday night at the Colisee. In front of thousands of adoring fans, the head coach of the Colorado Avalanche had his name raised to the rafters on a banner, honouring the NHL legend.

    Even players like Quebec Remparts goalie Zach Fucale, who grew up in Rosemere, Que., were excited about the prospect of seeing Roy feted.

    “It’s very special,” said Fucale. “The people here in Quebec really appreciated everything he’s done here and for the sport. I mean he’s a legend of the sport. Obviously tonight it’s going to be a special night for Quebec.”

    Roy said he hopes one day the NHL will once again return to Quebec City, where they have almost finished construction on the 18,482-seat state-of-the-art Videotron Centre next to the Colisee.

    “This is a great hockey town,” said Roy. “The people in Quebec they love hockey - just looking at the (QMJHL’s) Remparts – to see how many people are coming night after night to support this team for the past 10 years. The Remparts have been the No. 1 franchise in the CHL for attendance. This is a great hockey town and I really, really hope that one day there will be an NHL team in Quebec.”

  • Kelowna's stars show up at Memorial Cup and Leon Draisaitl shines the brightest

    Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    QUEBEC CITY — The stars came out Monday night for the Kelowna Rockets. Not surprisingly, Leon Draisaitl shined brightest.

    The Rockets took a step forward when they managed their first win of the 2015 Memorial Cup in a 7-3 blowout over the Rimouski Oceanic. Draisaitl finished the game with three points, scoring twice and setting up one of linemate Nick Merkley’s two goals. It was a much-needed result for the Western Hockey League champions who lost their opener to the Quebec Remparts.

    “It’s nice to show the hockey world what we are capable of,” said Draisaitl. “We played, in my opinion one of the worst games we played all year against Quebec so it’s nice to get everyone going and get a few guys on the scoresheet and show the world we are better than we have been.

    “It was nice to score that many goals for sure.”

    The Rockets will have little rest, facing the Oshawa Generals (2-0) on Tuesday night. The QMJHL-champion Oceanic (0-2) will fight for their tournament lives on Wednesday in a rematch of the President’s Cup final with the host Remparts. They’ll have a day to get their act together after a poor display against Kelowna.