At Memorial Cup, it's all about gorgeous goals

Knights mem cup game 4

Knights mem cup game 4

RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:21 PM ET

Doing it in style is better.

So far in Saskatoon, there's an on-ice public relations war being waged among the highly-skilled players to see how can score the most gorgeous goal, become TV's highlight of the night and make the play that racks up the most YouTube views.

Portland's Ty Rattie has scored jaw-dropping toe-drag goals in consecutive games. Max Domi's London Knights lost to the Winterhawks Monday night, but his between-the-legs pass to Bo Horvat was the talk of the town.

“For a bit, it looked like an all-star game,” Rattie the Canadian world junior forward, said. “My move and then (London captain Scott) Harrington's snipe and then Domi's move. It was a fun game to play in.”

Halifax forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin are capable of the sublime at any time. London head coach Dale Hunter thought the Domi play was one more example of the eye-popping creativity found in all special players.

“It was a great play. You don't see that very often,” he said. “That's what top-end skill does. Playing around (in practice), they do that when they shoot. It's a split-second decision. He could've pulled it to his backhand to do it but it might have gotten knocked off.

“He protected the puck by putting it through his legs.”

Even Portland coach Travis Green was impressed, though begrudgingly at first since it came against his Winterhawks.

“You don't appreciate it much when you're on the other bench but when you watch (the Domi play) at night time after a win, it's a lot easier to watch,” he said. “It was a high-end play that you're not going to see very often. Ty, we tend to expect that from him. We've seen him score a lot of nice goals over the years. He's one of those guys. He has a real nose for the net.”

Rattie's toe-drag is so devastating, he still fooled the Knights with it after doing it against Halifax on Saturday.

“Pretty much the same move,” the said. “A little bit more of a toe drag on (Scott) Harrington there. I know Harrington. I roomed with him at world juniors. I know how good he is and I can guarantee that move won't work again on him or probably any other defenceman.

“I don't think that's going to work again.”

But they'll come up with something, because they're big-game players able to relax on this stage and let their talent take over.

“We're a little more loose coming to this tournament from last year,” London sniper Seth Griffith said, “and we can make those plays. Next year, we'll be even that much more comfortable being there three years in a row (at home in London).”

Rattie also considers London to be a storied junior hockey franchise and was inspired to show something special against the back-to-back OHL champs.

“I grew up thinking London's the team to beat,” he said. “It was a surreal feeling playing against the London Knights. Growing up watching the Cup, you feel like London's always in there. I remember watching Corey Perry's team in there (2005) and watching them last year. My dad's always been a Dale Hunter fan. Dale Hunter walked by my dad and said 'Hi' (Monday night) so it was pretty cool.”

The players don't just watch video of other great goals. Rattie's Portland teammate is rookie Dominic Turgeon, whose dad Pierre was famously crunched from behind by Hunter while celebrating a playoff goal 20 years ago.

“We pulled it up and watched it,” Rattie said with a grin. “That was pretty funny. I know Pierre. He's a real great guy and hockey player and his son is going to be a very good hockey player, as well. Kinda funny (the Hunter hit), but Dominic doesn't think it's that funny.”

ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca

Twitter.com/RyanatLFPress

 


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