Hockey has officially closed out for the Leafs organization this season. The World Championships are long done, the Toronto Marlies have been eliminated, and with the Memorial Cup Finals just ending, they no longer have Junior Hockey to scout or meaningful games for their prospects to play.
With Leafs draft picks on both the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and the London Knights, there was going to be a high note for the group to end on no matter what. In this case, it was JJ Piccinich and Mitch Marner who got to celebrate at the final buzzer, with the latter capping off a historical season with even more silverware than he’s already earned.
London broke the scoring open midway through the second period courtesy of draft-eligible Matthew Tkachuk, who was set up by Marner and linemate Christian Dvorak. Many thought that was the sign of yet another London blowout, but a response goal from Francis Perron came just fifteen seconds later. The Huskies actually went ahead at a near=identical point in the third period, but Dvorak tied things up with four minutes to spare.
This led to a tense overtime, where Rouyn-Noranda put on much of the pressure and nearly beat Tyler Parsons on multiple occasions, but a pure snipe from Matthew Tkachuk ended the event.
Marner finishes the tournament with a “disappointing” single point in the final, bringing his totals to a still gaudy 14 in 4 games, among the highest in tournament history. “it’s been a great year. I’ve never more fun with a group of guys” said of his team, who won 17 in a row to finish the season.
Marner is the third player in history to win the regular season and playoff MVP’s in his league, the CHL MVP, and the Memorial Cup MVP in the same season. Dale Hawerchuk did the same in 1980, and Brad Richards did so in 2000. Corey Perry and Sidney Crosby both came close in 2005, but each stole one award from each other. Needless to say, Marner is going to need a new trophy case this summer.