Tuesday, May 9, 2017

BLOG: Brannon McManus, Mat Robson and Sam Rossini advance to junior league championships

Both the upcoming Canadian Junior A and USHL championships will be contested by players heading to the University of Minnesota.

Brannon McManus, Mat Robson and Sam Rossini all advanced over the weekend. Garrett Wait, meanwhile, can join them tonight (May 9, 2017) when Waterloo (USHL) faces Sioux City in a winner-take-all Game 5.

Whichever team wins advances to the Clark Cup Final to face McManus' Chicago Steel team in a best-of-five series. (5/9 9:40 pm CT Update: Sioux City took Game 5 and the series with a 8-3 victory.)

Chicago earlier defeated Dubuque 3 games to 1 to take the USHL Eastern Conference title. The 5'9", 181 lbs forward continued his scoring streak after notching the game-tying and game-winning goals in Game 1. McManus, who split the season between Omaha and Chicago, finished the four game series with four goals and an assist.

Here is McManus (#15) scoring in Chicago's 7-3 Game 4 win (starts at 1:19 mark).

Robson and Rossini, teammates with Penticton, already won the BCHL championship. They will get a chance to compete for the Canadian Junior A championship after advancing to the RBC Cup with a 3-2 win over Chilliwack to grab the second spot.

The Vees were one of two teams to come out of the Western Canada Cup, made up of the four western Canadian league champions (and BCHL runner-up Chilliwack since Penticton doubled as host).

Robson, who signed a letter of intent to play at Minnesota last month, has shined in net in single-elimination situations this postseason. Penticton had five Game 7s or must-win games, including needing to win twice in the Western Canada Cup. In those the Toronto native stopped 107 of 112 shots, finishing with a .955 save percentage, 0.97 GAA and a pair of shutouts in five victories.

Rossini, a defenseman from Inver Grove Heights, is getting his legs back following a season debut in Game 7 of the BCHL Final (also against Chilliwack - somehow those two teams played each other 11 times in a season).
The RBC Cup begins this weekend in Cobourg, Ontario. Teams will play a round-robin tournament with the top four teams advancing to the semifinals.

Any champion this season would join fellow Minnesota commit Blake McLaughlin in claiming a title. McLaughlin helped lead Grand Rapids to the Minnesota Class AA boys hockey title. He also skated for the Steel following Grand Rapids' season, but did not play in the series against Dubuque.

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