GLENDALE – Roommates will reunite this weekend as the 2014 Memorial Cup gets underway in London, Ontario.
Max Domi and Henrik Samuelsson, the Coyotes’ past two first-round draft picks, will lead their respective teams into the prestigious four-team event. The two high-scoring prospects shared a room last summer at the Coyotes' annual Prospect Development Camp.
Domi, whom the Coyotes selected with the 12th overall pick at the 2013 NHL entry Draft, is playing for host London of the Ontario Hockey League. Samuelsson, whom the Coyotes selected with the 27th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, is playing for Edmonton, the champs of the Western Hockey League. The other two teams are OHL champ Guelph and Val-d’Or, the champs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Domi and Samuelsson are talented forwards who led their teams in scoring in 2013-14. Domi notched 93 points (34 goals, 59 assists) in 61 regular-season games. That point total ranked eighth in the OHL. Samuelsson ranked ninth in the WHL with 95 points (35 goals, 60 assists) in 65 regular-season games. In the playoffs, he is leading Edmonton with 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 21 games.
London has not played in nearly five weeks since being bumped by Guelph from the OHL playoffs. The long layoff, however, has enabled Domi to nurse a shoulder injury he sustained in the second game of that series and he is expected to log plenty of ice time in this event.
"For whatever reason, it just wasn't our year as far as winning the OHL title so we just swallowed our pill there and let it soak in for a bit," Domi said. "We took about a week off then came back together and regrouped, and we've been going strong for the last four weeks with some hard practices and we're ready to go."
This is Domi's third straight trip to the Memorial Cup. London was the runner-up in 2012, and an also-ran last season, losing to Portland in the semifinal.
"We came up short the last couple of years but hopefully the third time is the charm," Domi said. "I know we're all going to do all that we can to win for our home fans."
Samuelsson and his teammates are enjoying a few days of rest after playing a grueling seven-game series vs. Portland in the WHL Championship Series.
"It was amazing to win a second championship with this team," said Samuelsson, who also played for Edmonton in 2012 when it won the WHL and played in the Memorial Cup. "It was even better than the first time."
Samuelsson notched two goals and three assists in four games at the 2012 Memorial Cup, but Edmonton lost to Shawinigan in a tiebreaker game.
"We didn’t’ do as well as we liked last time," Samuelsson said. "Last time I felt our team was satisfied with just winning the WHL championship. We’ve learned not to be satisfied and that it’s going to take a lot more to win the Memorial Cup."
Samuelsson said he is pleased with how he has performed this season, especially in the playoffs. He also said it will be fun to see Domi at the Memorial Cup, but only off the ice.
"Once we’re on the ice there are no friends," Samuelsson said. "It was nice to see (Coyotes prospect) Brendan (Burke) in the last series and it will be fun to see Max at this tournament, but it’s all business for our team this time around."
"We got to know each other well last summer and I'm definitely excited to see Henrik," Domi said. "We have the same goal of playing together for the Coyotes someday... but right now I can't wait to play against him at the Mem Cup."
London plays Edmonton on Sunday.
(All times Arizona time)
Friday, May 16
Va d’Or vs. London, 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 17
Guelph vs. Edmonton, 1 p.m.
Sunday, May 18
London vs. Edmonton, 4 p.m.
Monday, May 19
Val d’Or vs. Guelph, 4 p.m.
Tuesday, May 20
Edmonton vs. Val d’Or, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, May 21
London vs. Guelph, 4 p.m.
Thursday, May 22
Tiebreaker, if necessary, 4 p.m.
Friday, May 23
Semifinal, 4 p.m.
Sunday, May 25
Championship, 9 a.m.
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