Seattle Thunderbirds (captained by Flames prospect Lucas Ciona) fall short in Memorial Cup Final
Photo credit:Brian Liesse/WHL
By Ryan Pike3 months ago
A tremendous season for the powerhouse Seattle Thunderbirds has ended with a loss in the Memorial Cup final to the Quebec Remparts. The Thunderbirds, captained by Calgary Flames prospect Lucas Ciona, lost to the Remparts by a 5-0 score on Sunday night.
The 20-year-old Ciona signed an entry-level contract with the Flames in the fall after being a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. Given his age and him having an NHL contract, it seems likely that the Memorial Cup final was his final major junior game.
The only games the Thunderbirds lost in the Memorial Cup tournament were both to the Remparts, the other being a 3-1 loss in the second game of the round robin. Seattle beat Peterborough 6-3 and Kamloops 6-1 to advance to the semi-final, then beat Peterborough 4-1 on Friday to advance to Sunday’s final.
Seattle qualified for the Memorial Cup tournament as the WHL champions, defeating Kelowna (in four games), Prince George (in four games), Kamloops (in six games) and Winnipeg (in five games) to capture the Ed Chynoweth Cup. The shutout loss to the Remparts was their first shutout loss since Feb. 4 against Everett and just their second such goose-egg in 92 combined regular season or playoff games this season.
The loss ends a heck of a 19-year-old season for Ciona. He was named captain of the Thunderbirds early in the fall and signed his ELC with the Flames. He posted career-high offensive numbers, with 28 goals and 75 points in 68 game, and was named a second-team divisional all-star. In the WHL playoffs, he had nine points in 19 games. In the Memorial Cup tournament, he had four points over the Thunderbirds’ five games and was one of his club’s emotional leaders.
He was the final Flames-affiliated player still playing games during the 2022-23 season.
Ciona is eligible to return to the WHL as an overager in 2023-24, but given his success in the league, that seems unlikely. The next time we see Ciona in action, it’ll likely be at the Young Stars Classic tournament in Penticton in the fall.
Recent articles from Ryan Pike