In rapid succession, the Red Deer Rebels have gone from being the lone decided participant to knowing their Memorial Cup opponents in a matter of days.
Over a three-day period, the Western Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Ontario Hockey League wrapped up their championship series.
It started on Wednesday, when the London Knights completed their best-of-seven sweep of the Niagara IceDogs in the OHL final.
Led by Toronto Maple Leafs first round draft pick Mitch Marner, the Knights handled the IceDogs quickly winning 4-1, 6-1, 6-5 and 1-0.
Marner won the Red Tilson Trophy, OHL player of the year, for the 2015-16 season, scoring 39 goals and 77 assists. He followed it up with 16 goals and 27 assists in 18 playoff games, breaking the OHL’s all-time highest points-per-game pace at 2.44.
Then on Thursday night, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies finished off the Shawinigan Cataractes with a 7-2 win in Game 5 of the QMJHL final.
Francis Perron led the Huskies in playoff and regular season scoring with 12 goals and 21 assists in the post-season, preceded by 41 goals and 67 assists in the regular season. He was named the QMJHL Most Valuable Player for his efforts, winning the Michel Briere Memorial Trophy.
The Huskies knocked off the Cataractes in five games winning 4-2, 4-1, 2-1 and 7-2, the team’s only loss game in Game 4 when the Cataractes downed them 6-4.
The Rebels’ final opponent was decided Friday night as the Brandon Wheat Kings finished off the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Games 1 through 3 look identical on the score sheet. The Wheat Kings and Thunderbirds go to overtime, with the Wheaties emerging as 3-2 victors. Though the Thunderbirds rallied on home ice with a 6-1 win in Game 4, the Wheat Kings finished off the series in Game 5 on Friday with an 8-4 win .
The Wheat Kings have dominated the post-season scoring with Nolan Patrick leading with 12 goals and 15 assists, followed by John Quenneville with 15 goals and 11 assists and Tim McGauley with eight gaols and 16 assists.
Wheaties defenceman Ivan Provorov won the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s defencemand of the year.
The Red Deer Rebels open the Memorial Cup tournament against the Knights on Friday, May 20. The puck drops at 6 p.m. at the Centrium.