Twin brother goaltending tandem leads Jr. Canadiens to championship
One year after Michael Misa broke Connor McDavid’s record for points, history happened again at the 2023 OHL Cup. However, it wasn’t a surge offense and goals, it was quite the opposite. Goaltending tandem — and twin brothers — Alex Armellin and Nico Armellin completed an OHL Cup championship run by allowing the fewest goals in a single tournament.
Through seven games, the Armellin brothers combined to allow just three goals against, breaking the previous team record set in 2012. The Mississauga Rebels allowed just four goals against during their championship run.
Both brothers posted two shutouts, with Alex putting together a 21-save blanking of the Vaughan Kings in a 3-0 championship win. It was his fourth start of the OHL Cup, and he finished with a 0.67 goals-against average and .972 save percentage. Brother Nico had a 0.44 goals against and .981 save percentage in one less game.
“My defense made it pretty easy for me,” Alex told OHLCup.ca. “I didn’t really get tested too much, and all tournament our forwards and defense were great in the defensive zone. It’s just unbelievable to get the win.”
Jr. Canadiens claim third OHL Cup in club history
Entering the tournament with a 49-16-4 record, the Jr. Canadiens ranked No. 5 in the country and 10th in the world. Ironically, they opened up OHL Cup action the same way it eventually ended. A win over the Vaughan Kings, plus another win over Thunder Bay Kings on the first day of the tournament put JRC in the driver’s seat of the Shanahan Division. Alex stopped 15-of-16 shots in the Vaughan matchup while Nico turned away 14-of-15 against Thunder Bay.
The twins continued to alternate starts as Alex shut out York-Simcoe Express before Nico shut out Sun County Panthers. That clinched the top spot in the division for Toronto and moved them on to the quarterfinals.
In the playoffs, Alex again answered the call, as the Jr. Canadiens eliminated the London Jr. Knights 4-1. Eight hours later, Nico made his playoff start as the team took on the Waterloo Wolves in the semifinal. There, he stopped all 26 shots faced, allowing JRC to pull off the 4-0 win. That set the stage for Alex to close out the OHL Cup championship with his second shutout of the tournament.
The Armellin brothers closed the week without surrendering a single goal in the final 133:14 of game action.
Jake O’Brien Earns OHL Cup MVP Honors
The tournament featured highly-touted OHL prospects from the 2007 birth year like Ryan Roobroeck, William Moore and Brady Martin. Yet it was Jr. Canadiens forward Jake O’Brien that not only led his team to a championship but led the tournament in scoring in the process. O’Brien put together multi-point performances in six of the seven games for a total of seven goals and 17 points. One of those being a goal and an assist in the OHL Cup championship.
Jake O'Brien lights the lamp again! 🚨— Ontario Hockey League (@OHLHockey) April 4, 2023
The #OHLCup's leading scorer tallies his seventh of the tournament to double the @JrCanadiensAAA lead!
WATCH LIVE FOR FREE 📺: https://t.co/EACCIQuI4x pic.twitter.com/gTG5vy9noX
“We fought through a lot of adversity throughout the year,” O’Brien told OHLCup.ca. “We didn’t win anything until now, but this is the most important and I’m so happy that we did it.”
He also scored two goals and an assist in the semifinal game against Waterloo to elevate Toronto to the championship game.