Buffalo Sabres prospects Nikita Zadorov and Brady Austin are participating in the Mastercard Memorial Cup, and they’re still looking for their first win of the tournament as it continues this week in London, Ontario.
Zadorov and Austin are both defensemen on the host team, the London Knights, who have lost both of their games in the Memorial Cup so far this year.
Zadorov, 19, was drafted by the Sabres with the 16th overall selection in 2013. He’s in his second season with the Knights and is playing in his second consecutive Memorial Cup tournament. Last year, Zadorov and the Knights were in the tournament as OHL champions; they eventually lost out to the Portland Winterhawks in the semi-final.
This is Austin’s first Memorial Cup appearance. The 20-year-old defenseman was drafted by the Sabres 193rd overall in 2012. London is his third OHL club; he has previous experience with the Erie Otters and the Belleville Bulls.
London began its Memorial Cup run on Friday as they hosted the QMJHL champion Val-d’Or Foreurs at Budweiser Gardens.
The Knights were shut out 1-0. Austin was a minus-1 in the loss, while Zadorov didn’t make any mark on the scoresheet.
He’s continued to play a physical game as he did in the OHL’s regular season, but he’ll need to step up on the scoresheet if London hopes to make it to the championship game of the Memorial Cup next weekend.
Austin, who currently wears an A for London, has been a presence for the Knights and will need to continue doing so for the Knights to be successful.
Detroit Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha had the lone goal in Friday’s game, while Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Antoine Bibeau had an astonishing 51-save shutout performance.
Zadorov, Austin and the Knights continued their Memorial Cup play on Sunday with a game against the WHL champion Edmonton Oil Kings.
The Knights had a better performance on Sunday, but the end result was the same: a loss, this time by a score of 5-2.
Austin finished the night a minus-2, while Zadorov had two penalty minutes in the loss.
London goals came from Dakota Mermis and Alex Basso, while Edmonton goals came from Luke Bertolucci, Edgars Kulda and Reid Petryk.
Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Tristan Jarry had 38 saves in the Oil Kings win, while London split their goaltending between Anthony Stolarz (PHI) and Jake Patterson.
The Knights will need a win against the Guelph Storm on Wednesday in order to have any chance of making it to the elimination or championship games of this year’s Memorial Cup. Guelph is coming off a 5-2 win over Edmonton on Saturday afternoon. They’ll face Val-d’Or tonight before the game against London on Wednesday.
Many of the Memorial Cup games are being televised either live or tape-delayed on NHL Network in the United States, as well as on Sportsnet in Ontario. Packages to watch the games online may also be purchased – just visit the Memorial Cup website for more information. There are three more games of round-robin action before tiebreaker, elimination and championship games begin later this week.