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Four games into the 2013 edition of the MasterCard Memorial Cup, and all four teams have identical 1-1 records....
The last team to join the win column was the WHL champion Portland Winterhawks by virtue of a 6-3 win against the OHL champion London Knights. Ty Rattie paced the Winterhawks with two goals and an assist. Chase De Leo, Taylor Leier, Derrick Pouliot and Oliver Bjorkstrand rounded out the scoring for the winners. Scott Harrington, Alex Broadhurst and Bo Horvat replied for the Knights.
"We needed it bigtime," said Rattie. "That was a big game for us, a big team effort - right from (goalie) Mac Carruth right out to our forwards. That's what we're going to build on heading into Saskatoon (Wednesday)."
The crowd of 7,575 at Credit Union Centre was fairly subdued after many watched the host Saskatoon Blades pick up an emotional victory the night before. Leier tipped in Tyler Wotherspoon's shot for the only goal of the first period.
Bjorkstrand and Rattie scored in the second period to give Portland a three-goal lead. But the Knights would answer with two in the second, by Harrington and Horvat, and one early in the third by Broadhurst to even the game at three. But Pouliot's powerplay goal was followed up 13 seconds later by De Leo to put the Winterhawks back up by a pair. Rattie iced the game with an empty net goal.
The Horvat goal in the second period has drawn national attention after a slick between the legs pass by Max Domi set up the goal.
The Knights are now in the back-to-back scenario, taking on the Halifax Mooseheads on short-rest Tuesday night. Portland wraps up the tournament round-robin Wednesday against Saskatoon.
With the four teams now 1-1, the tournament will require a tiebreaker game Thursday. The top seed receives an automatic berth into the championship game, second goes to the semi-final while third and fourth will play for the other spot in the semi.
Here are the scenarios for the final two games of the round-robin.
Halifax wins and Portland wins:
1. Halifax 2. Portland 3. London 4. Saskatoon
Halifax wins and Saskatoon wins:
1. Saskatoon 2. Halifax 3. Portland 4. London
London wins and Portland wins:
1. Portland 2. London 3. Saskatoon 4. Halifax
London wins and Saskatoon wins:
1. London 2. Saskatoon 3. Halifax 4. Portland
-Through four games, tournament attendance is averaging 8,870 per game at Credit Union Centre.
-The Calgary Flames are well represented at the tournament with Director of Scouting Tod Button on-site along with Coach Bob Hartley providing analysis for French-language television. The Flames currently have the sixth overall pick. While the terrific trio of Jones, MacKinnon and Drouin should be gone by then, the Flames could attempt to trade up. Calgary also has the first rounders originally belonging to St. Louis and Pittsburgh. If they keep them, London's Horvat, Domi or Nikita Zadorov could all be options.
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