Dallas Stars: Memorial Cup

Dallas Stars prospect Matt Fraser and the Kootenay Ice are out at the Memorial Cup after losing 3-1 to Mississauga in the semifinal Friday night.

Mississauga, the host team, will play QMJHL champion Saint John in the championship game on Sunday.

For the third straight game the Ice fell behind 2-0, but Fraser assisted on a power play just before time expired in the second period to make it a 2-1 game.

But the Ice couldn’t get the equalizer in the third period and Mississauga sealed the victory with a late empty net goal.

Fraser, a free agent signing by the Stars, ended the tournament with 6 points (4 goals and 2 assists) in 5 games. He is currently tied for first in goals at the tournament and is tied for second in points.

Dallas Stars prospect Matt Fraser scored two goals, including the game-winner, and added an assist as the Kootenay Ice advanced to the semifinal game at the Memorial Cup with a 7-3 win over Owen Sound Thursday night.

The Ice will play Mississauga Friday night. The winner of that game will take on the Saint John Sea Dogs for the Memorial Cup championship on Sunday.

The Ice trailed 2-0 after one period, but scored two goals 13 seconds apart in the second to tie and Fraser put them ahead 3-2 with a power play goal at 11:19 of the second when he roofed a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle.

Fraser made it a 4-2 game early in the third period when he banged home a rebound with Kootenay on the power play. He then picked up on an assist on a shorthanded goal to give the Ice a 6-2 lead.

Fraser now has four goals at the Memorial Cup, which is tied for the tournament lead. His five points are tied for third.


Memorial Cup update

May, 26, 2011
5/26/11
11:30
AM CT
Dallas Stars prospect Matt Fraser and the Kootenay Ice are back in action tonight at the Memorial Cup. They'll play the Owen Sound Attack in a tiebreaker game that will determine which team advances to Friday night's semifinal game against Mississauga.

The Ice lost to Owen Sound 5-0 earlier in the tournament, but the Attack will be without two of their top forwards. Both Garrett Wilson and Joey Hishon are out with concussion-like symptoms.

Fraser, a free agent signing by the Stars, scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime, as Kootenay beat St. John 5-4 Tuesday to stay alive in the tournament and make it to the tiebreaker.

Tonight's game is at 6 p.m. (CDT) and will be carried live on the NHL Network in the United States.
Dallas Stars prospect Matt Fraser scored two goals, including the game-winner 3:55 into overtime, as the Kootenay Ice beat the St. John Sea Dogs 5-4 at the Memorial Cup Tuesday night. The victory kept the Ice alive at the Memorial Cup, where they’ll now play in a tiebreaker game that will determine which team advances to the semifinal game.

“We’re a desperate hockey team. Our backs were against the wall,” Fraser told Rogers Sportsnet after the game. “You can throw every cliché in the book that you have. The bottom line is that we needed that win and our hopes are still alive to win the Memorial Cup.

In the overtime Fraser took a pass from teammate Max Reinhart, skated to the bottom of the right circle and scored off a wrist shot to give the Ice the victory. The goal was a controversial one, since replays showed the puck had come outside the zone just before Reinhart got the puck to Fraser.

“We’re certainly not complaining,” Fraser said. "We’re happy with the win and to be in the tiebreaker, for sure.”

A loss Tuesday would have eliminated Kootenay from the tournament. St. John jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Kootenay scored two quick power play goals to tie the game.

Fraser gave the Ice a 4-3 lead with a power play goal with 12:41 left in the game when he scored off a wrist shot from the right circle.

But St. John, which is already guaranteed a spot in Sunday’s championship game, tied the game with 14.5 seconds left when a shot from the point bounced off the head of Sea Dogs forward Tomas Jurco and into the net.

The Ice will play again on Thursday, taking on the loser of Wednesday’s Owen Sound-Mississauga game.

Dallas Stars prospect Matt Fraser and the Kootenay Ice’s hopes of winning the Memorial took a big blow Sunday evening. Kootenay lost 2-1 to Mississauga to fall to 0-2 in the tournament.

Only one team has ever lost the first two games of the Memorial Cup tournament and gone on to win the championship. That was Windsor in 2009.

Fraser had some good scoring chances in the game but did not register any points for Kootenay, which has scored only one goal in its first two contests.

The Ice will try to stay alive in the tournament when they play QMJHL champion St. John, considered the best team in Canadian junior hockey, on Tuesday.


Dallas Stars prospect Matt Fraser and the Kootenay Ice got off to a rough start at the Memorial Cup, falling 5-0 to the Owen Sound Attack Saturday evening.

The Attack led 1-0 after the first period and extended it to 2-0 in the second period, despite being outshot 15-6 by the Ice. Owen Sound blew it open with three goals in the third.

“We’ve got to forget this for sure,” Fraser said in a postgame interview on the tournament’s official site. “We got away from our game plan in the third period. We felt in the second period we deserved a little better fate, but I guess that’s the way it goes. … We’ll talk about, watch a little game tape and that will be the end of it. In a tournament like this you can’t dwell on your losses, you have to move forward.”

Fraser, who led the WHL playoffs with 17 goals in 19 games, had a couple of good scoring chances in the game, but Owen Sound goalie Jordan Binnington stopped all 29 Kootenay shots in the game for the OHL champions.

Kootenay (0-1-0-0) takes on the host team Mississauga (0-1-0-0) Sunday as round-robin play continues in the tournament. The game, which is at 6 p.m. (CDT), will be carried live the NHL Network in the United States.


Dallas Stars prospect Matt Fraser and the Kootenay Ice play their first game in the Memorial Cup tonight, taking on OHL champion Owen Sound. It will be the first of two games this weekend for Kootenay, which takes on the host team Mississauga Sunday.

The Cranbrook Daily Townsman, which is providing local coverage of the Ice, has a preview here and it includes a few quotes from Fraser, a free agent signing by the Stars who led the Western Hockey League playoffs in goal scoring with 17 in 19 games.

Kootenay, the WHL champions, is not considered a favorite headed into the tournament, but not many people expected the Ice to make it this far either. More here from the National Post.

Both Kootenay games this weekend will be carried live on the NHL Network in the United States starting at 6 p.m. (CDT).

The tournament opened last night with St. John (QMJHL champs) defeating Mississauga 4-3.

The official Memorial Cup site is here.

Memorial Cup opens tonight

May, 20, 2011
5/20/11
1:42
PM CT
The Memorial Cup opens tonight and four teams, including Dallas Stars prospect Matt Fraser’s Kootenay Ice, will be battling to become the top junior team in the CHL.

“It’s for the best team in Canada in junior hockey,” said Fraser, whose team is the Western Hockey League champions. “It’s the Stanley Cup of the Canadian Hockey League.”

The Ice will take on the Owen Sound Attack (Ontario Hockey League champions), St. John Sea Dogs (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champions) and the OHL’s Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors (host team) at the tournament.

“I think it’s one of the harder trophies to win in sports,” said Fraser, who will see his first action Saturday night.

Each of the league champions has already won four best-of-seven series in their respective leagues. Mississauga, this year’s host, played four rounds as well, falling in the OHL championship series to Owen Sound in overtime in Game 7.

Now, they come to this tournament where there is little margin for error. The teams play each either once in a round-robin format and then are ranked one through four. The first place team gets a birth in the championship game, the second and third place teams go to the semifinal game and the fourth place team is out. If there’s a tie for third place, then there is a tiebreaker game to determine which team gets the semifinal playoff spot.

Top prospects

Besides a chance to see Stars prospect Matt Fraser, the Memorial Cup is a chance to see some of the top players eligible for this summer’s NHL Draft as well.

There are 17 draft eligible players in this year’s tournament, including four of the top 20 North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting’s rankings, and all of them play on QMJHL champion St. John: C Jonathan Huberdeau (3rd); D Nathan Beaulieu (5th); C Zach Phillips (15th); RW Tomas Jurco (20th).

Links

Memorial Cup Official Site

Schedule/Television coverage

The NHL Network in the U.S. will provide coverage of the Memorial Cup with a mix of live and taped delay broadcasts. Kootenay’s games on Saturday and Sunday will be carried live and its Tuesday game will be broadcast on a tape delay basis on Wednesday. Here’s the tournament schedule and the NHL Network’s broadcast plans.

When the season began Dallas Stars prospect Matt Fraser’s status with the Kootenay Ice was kind of up in the air. He was one of four overage players on the roster and Western Hockey League rules allow teams to carry only three.

Fraser was one of the three who ended up staying around and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

The 6-2, 218 pound left wing co-led the team in goal scoring in the regular season and was the top goal scorer in the WHL playoffs as the Ice won the WHL’s Ed Chynoweth Cup and punched a ticket to the Memorial Cup, where they will battle teams from the Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for supremacy.

“Words really can’t describe knowing that you’re the WHL champion and that you’re going to play the best teams in Canada,” Fraser said in a phone interview. “To be playing hockey in late May is something really special, for sure.”

The Ice will play the Owen Sound Attack (OHL), St. John Sea Dogs (QMJHL) and the OHL’s Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors, the host team, for the Canadian Hockey League championship.

The trip to the Memorial Cup will cap off an impressive final year of junior hockey for Fraser, who played four seasons for Kootenay. He had 74 points (36 goals, 38 assists) in 68 regular season games and co-led the Ice in goal scoring.

“As a 20-year-old, a little more is expected of you both on and off the ice, as a leader,” he said. “From a points standpoint, I thought I had a good season and worked well with my linemates. A lot of credit goes to my linemates, Max Reinhart and Joe Antilla and Jesse Ismond and Drew Czerwonka were in there a little bit. It’s one of those things that when you are having fun playing hockey, everything else takes care of itself.”

His playoff numbers were superb. He led the WHL playoffs in goal scoring with 17 in 19 games and was tied for second with 27 points. He scored the overtime winner in Game 4 of the WHL championship series against Portland and then in the series clinching fifth game, he scored two goals, including the game-winner.

“You want to do what you can to help your team succeed, whether it’s blocking shots or getting points or scoring goals,” said Fraser. “There are so many guys on the team that played so well in the playoffs. If they weren’t scoring the goal then they were taking the hit to make the play, blocking the shot or something like that. There was a new hero for us every night and that was the motto for us in the playoffs.”

Fraser, who turns 21 on Friday, has a habit of talking more about the team and his teammates than himself. That focus on team is one of several attributes the Stars like.

“Matt’s had a real good season. He’s a real honest kid, he’s big, he’s got some good two-way attributes and he’s got a nice scoring touch,” said Les Jackson, the Stars Director of Scouting and Player Development. “His team play is awesome, his attitude and his bottom line criteria for team play is awesome. He just comes to play.”

The Stars signed Fraser, an undrafted free agent, to a three-year entry-level contract in November. Fraser was a grabbing a bite to eat when he got the news that the Stars were interested.

“I was sitting in Quiznos and I got a call from my agent and he said Dallas is trying to get something done here for you,” Fraser said. “I’ll never forget that phone call that day. … Any time a team wants to invest time in you and wants you to be a part of them, you really can’t go wrong.”

Fraser will turn pro next season and is expected to start in the AHL, where he already has some experience. He played two games with the Peoria Rivermen at the end of the 2009-10 season after signing an amateur tryout contract. This time around it would be the Texas Stars.

“I have a buddy that plays in Austin – Colton Sceviour – and he said it’s a fantastic organization and a fantastic place,” Fraser said. “It’s a great place to be.”

But for right now the focus is on the trip to Mississauga and the Memorial Cup.

“It’s the Stanley Cup of the Canadian Hockey League,” said Fraser.

Stars prospect headed to Memorial Cup

May, 14, 2011
5/14/11
9:31
AM CT
Dallas Stars prospect Matt Fraser scored two goals, including the game-winner, and chipped in an assist as the Kootenay Ice defeated Portland 4-1 on Friday night to win the Western Hockey League’s Ed Chynoweth Cup. Fraser and the Ice will now head to the Memorial Cup, which begins May 20 in Mississauga, Ontario.

Fraser’s game-winner came on a power play, when he scored off a one-timer to give the Ice a 2-1 lead late in the second period.

Fraser, a left wing, had 27 points (17 goals, 10 assists) in 19 playoff games. His 17 goals were tops in the WHL playoffs and his 27 points were tied for second. His plus-14 rating ranked third.

Fraser, who turns 21 next week, was signed as a free agent by the Stars in November 2010.

Stars defense prospect Hubert Labrie’s team still has a shot at advancing to the Memorial Cup. Labrie, who missed part of Gatineau’s double overtime loss in Game 4 due to injury, returned for Game 5 and assisted on the game-winning goal and had five hits as the Olympiques beat St. John 3-2 to stay alive in the QMJHL’s President’s Cup final.

Gatineau trails 3-2 in the series and hosts Game 6 on Sunday.

Labrie, a defenseman, has 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists) in 23 playoff games and leads the QMJHL playoffs with a plus-18 rating. Labrie, 19, was signed as a free agent by the Stars in September 2009.


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