Rouyn-Noranda to face host Halifax in Memorial Cup final
Rouyn-Noranda Huskies' Alex Beaucage, right, celebrates a first period goal with teammates during Memorial Cup hockey action against the Guelph Storm in Halifax on Friday, May 24, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Darren Calabrese)
Kyle Cicerella, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, May 24, 2019 10:52PM EDT
HALIFAX -- The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies will face the host Halifax Mooseheads in the Memorial Cup final.
Felix Bibeau scored two third-period goals as Rouyn-Noranda beat the Guelph Storm 6-4 on Friday in the tournament semifinal.
Bibeau made it 4-3 for the Huskies from the slot 5:20 into the third with a shot Storm goaltender Anthony Popovich never saw, then added another from nearly the same spot to give his club some breathing room with 7:27 to play.
Alex Beaucage, Joel Teasdale, Tyler Hinam and Rafael Harvey-Pinard also found the back of the net for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Huskies. Samuel Harvey made 34 saves.
Isaac Ratcliffe struck twice while Jack Hanley and Cedric Ralph also scored for the Ontario Hockey League champion Storm. Anthony Popovich stopped 31 shots.
Guelph, Rouyn-Noranda and Halifax finished tied with 2-1 records after round-robin play. The Mooseheads won the tiebreaker to earn a bye right to Sunday's final while the Storm and Huskies were forced to go the semifinal route.
The Western Hockey League champion Prince Albert Raiders were sent home early after going 0-3 in the preliminary round.
Guelph carried the early momentum with a strong start from its top line, but fell behind on a broken play after Ratcliffe went to the box for high sticking at 16:37.
Beaucage picked up a loose puck in the slot and backhanded the puck past Popovich, who looked unsure of his surroundings and appeared to lose the puck, with 23 seconds remaining on the power play to open the scoring.
Ratcliffe made up for his penalty by tying the game 1:30 later when he finished off a 2-on-1 rush with MacKenzie Entwhistle with a snapshot blocker side on Harvey.
The Storm didn't need much time to take their first lead as Hanley beat a screened Harvey with a point shot exactly 60 seconds after his captain scored.
Teasdale made it a 2-2 game when he stole the puck from defenceman Sean Durzi near the Guelph net and roofed it over Popovich before the netminder even knew what was happening at 9:31.
Offence finally took a backseat in the second half of the opening frame, with the two teams going into the break tied on the scoreboard and the shot clock with 11 apiece.
Ralph got in close and took a feed from Zachary Roberts before roofing it short side over Harvey's blocker at 5:53, and the early onslaught of goals continued when Hinam beat Popovich with a wrist shot off a faceoff win by linemate Peter Abbandonato only 54 seconds later to make it 3-3.
As the game went deeper the benches got smaller and it seemed as if Huskies coach Mario Pouliot had star defenceman Noah Dobson out every second shift to shut down Guelph's best players.
Dobson didn't seem fazed by all the ice time he had and got in for a breakaway with 3:06 to play only to be hooked from behind by Dmitri Samorukov. Dobson was given a penalty shot but missed when the puck rolled off his stick.
Guelph pulled Popovich and kept up its pressure to make it interesting, with Ratcliffe making it a one-goal game with 1:13 to go before Harvey-Pinard scored an empty-netter.