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Host Saginaw take on WHL champion Moose Jaw to open Memorial Cup


The Saginaw Spirit begin the 104th Memorial Cup as hosts by taking on the Western Hockey League champion Moose Jaw Warriors on Friday night.

Saginaw comes into the tournament having not played since May 5, when they were eliminated in six games in the Western Conference Final by the eventual J. Ross Robertson Cup champion London Knights.

Watch Saginaw take on Moose Jaw LIVE at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on TSN1/5., and the TSN App.

The Spirit have been led all season by 18-year-old NHL draft prospect Zayne Parekh. The 6-foot right-shot blueliner led all CHL defencemen with 33 goals and 96 points in the regular season and won the Max Kaminsky Trophy as the OHL's most outstanding defenceman.

Parekh added two goals and 11 points in 13 playoff games and is ranked No. 5 on TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button's most recent draft list.

Anaheim Ducks prospect Rodwin Dionicio led the team in playoff scoring with five goals and 17 points, followed by forwards Calem Mangone and Owen Beck with 14 points each. NHL Draft fans will also have an opportunity to watch Michael Misa play, who will be eligible to be selected in 2025.

Misa, 17, is one of six players to be granted exceptional player status in the OHL, joining John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid, Sean Day, and Shane Wright.

The 6-foot winger finished the regular season with 29 goals and 75 points for third on the team and added four goals and 11 points in the playoffs.

Saginaw has put out a tandem of Andrew Oke and Nolan Lalonde in net, splitting time throughout the season.

Oke began the playoffs winning his first five games before succumbing to an injury in the second round and never returned. Lalonde stepped in and went 5-7 with a 2.79 goals-against average and .893 save percentage before the Spirit were eliminated by the Knights.

Moose Jaw is appearing in the franchise's first Memorial Cup and the city is being represented at the event for the first time since 1947.

The Warriors had to go through a tough seven-game series against the WHL regular season champion Saskatoon Blades in the third round that saw six games go to overtime, including Game 7. They were then able to sweep the Portland Winterhawks in the league final to win their first Ed Chynoweth Cup.

Moose Jaw's star power dominated the WHL playoffs with forwards Jagger Firkus, Brayden Yager, Matthew Savoie, and defenceman Denton Mateychk making up the league's top four scorers.

Firkus was also named WHL player of the year after putting up 61 goals and 126 points in the regular season while Mateychuk was the WHL's defenceman of the year and playoff MVP.

Jackson Unger has been the mainstay in net for the Warriors, registering a 35-15-2 record with a .908 save percentage and 3.08 GAA. His play got even better in the playoffs, as he went 16-3 with a 2.90 GAA and .910 save percentage.

After Friday's opener, London will face off against the Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League champion Drummondville Voltigeurs on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT across the TSN Network, the exclusive home of the Memorial Cup.