Sometimes there are games where words just don’t do it the
right kind of justice as Friday night’s semifinal matchup at the Memorial Cup.
Maybe we use the word “classic” too much but boy was watching the triple
overtime match between the Edmonton Oil Kings and the Val-d’Or Foreurs a whole
lot of fun.
It took 102:42 before the Edmonton Oil Kings were finally
able to get the winning goal but the real winner was the player who walked away
with the game’s second star Ryan Graves (2013 4th) of the Val-d’Or
Foreurs. Graves put on an awesome defensive performance especially in overtime
that just may have stamped his name on a NHL future.
The Oil Kings were the dominant team in overtime but if you
checked the stat sheet it won’t show it as time after time Graves was breaking
up Oil King offensive rushes. Using his 6’4 frame, Graves would put his body in
the way of the Oil Kings attack. The Foreurs used only 4 defensemen in the
overtime period meaning Graves was out there every other shifts.
It was a very impressive performance by Graves who has upped
his game since the Rangers signed him to his Entry Level Contract. There was no
way that the Foreurs would have gotten out of the first overtime if not for the
defensive efforts of Graves. The guys calling the game for Sportsnet were just
raving about Graves who turned 19 just 3 days ago.
In regulation it was Graves who helped start a late 2 goal
comeback that caused all thus overtime. Graves earning the secondary assist on Guillaume
Gélinas goal that brought the Foreurs to within 1 goal at 17:52. It was Graves
2nd point of the Memorial Cup but both of his points were key points
that helped his team out.
Graves finishes the season as the last New York Ranger
prospect and a member of the QMJHL champions. It was a career year for Graves
who started the season with the Charlestown Islanders before the trade that
brought him to the Foreurs. Overall Graves was 5-17-22 with 68 PIMs and a +20.
In the playoffs Graves played in 24 games and was 1-7-8 with 24 PIMs.
The Rangers got a steal with Graves in the 4th round as they can use a “stay at home” defender who offers size and mobility.