Denver Barkey, Oliver Bonk lose in Memorial Cup final

2024 Memorial Cup - Final
2024 Memorial Cup - Final / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

The London Knights were 22 seconds away from forcing overtime in the Memorial Cup finale. The Saginaw Spirit jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second before London scored three unanswered, tying the game with less than 10 minutes to go. But it was Josh Bloom who broke the hearts of the Knights with a game-winning goal with 22 seconds to go.

Saginaw was Memorial Cup's host team, an honor giving teams an automatic tournament bid. It was their first-ever appearance in the tournament. London defeated the Spirit in the OHL playoffs and during the tournament's preliminary round. But Saginaw got the win when they needed it most.

That officially ends the seasons of Denver Barkey and Oliver Bonk. Even without a trophy at the end of this tournament, it was an incredible season for both players. Both registered career-highs in multiple categories and both earned All-Star honors. Bonk helped aid in London's comeback effort to tie the game. He had assists on the first and second goals. That brought him to six points, good for fifth amongst all players and second amongst defensemen. He registered a point in every game of the tournament.

That was after Bonk posted 16 points in 18 OHL playoff games, besting the 11 points he had in the 2023 playoffs. He scored his first postseason goal, finishing with seven. Six of those goals came on the power play, a unit Bonk has thrived on. Bonk saw a jump in production with a bigger role during the regular season. Earning more special teams time, 15 of his 24 goals came on the power play. His 1.12 points per game was a large jump from the 0.60 he had a season prior.

As for Barkey, he finished with four points, all during the preliminary round. He scored against Saginaw in a game that earned the Knights a straight bid to the final match. Barkey also had two assists against the Moose Jaw Warriors, one coming on what turned out to be the game-winning goal. In the finale against Saginaw, Barkey would not be credited with a shot after he had four against the Spirit in their last matchup.

Barkey did finish the OHL players with the fourth most points (27) ahead of the Memorial Cup. He ended the playoffs on a six-game point streak, posting 14 points. Barkey had a goal and two assists in the title-clinching game. This was after a season in which he smashed all career highs. Barkey finished with 35 goals and crossed the century mark in points (102). His 1.59 PTS/G was his first over one point per game, besting the 0.97 he had last season.

The two are expected to return to London for another season despite both having signed their entry-level contracts this past season. Bonk earned his shortly after being drafted, while Barkey's strong season allowed him to put pen to paper a few months ago.

There is plenty of excitement for what these two players can bring to the Flyers in the future.