The Rebels knew that tonight’s Memorial Cup semi-final was going to be the biggest game of their season and many of their lives, but didn’t come out playing like it.
It took only 10 minutes for the Huskies to get on the board, when Timo Meier found Francis Perron on the power play and he wired one past Rebel G Rylan Toth.
One minute and seven seconds later, the Huskies got back on the board when Martin Dzierkals sent a soft backhander to the net which managed to squeak by the Rebel netminer. A third goal in the second period came to the Huskies in thanks to a power play tally by Nikolas Brouillard and the game was out of reach.
However, that wasn’t due to a phenomenal effort by the Red Deer Rebels. In a typical Alberta fashion, the Rebels did everything they could to fight through adversity and come back in the game.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, who outshot the Huskies 37-27 by the end of the game, they ran into a goaltender who wouldn’t take no for an answer. The Rebels managed to score in the third, when captain Luke Philp found the back of the net.
With their win tonight, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies advance to the finals against the London Knights Sunday afternoon at 2:30 PM MT.
“I don’t think any of you guys out there thought with us being hosts and being beat out in the semi-finals that we could play against these top teams,” said Rebels Head Coach Brent Sutter. “We deserved to be in this game tonight with our two and one record.
“We played with this team tonight too. We made a couple mistakes in the first period that put us behind – we didn’t quit – we kept battling and I thought their goaltender was the best player on the ice. That’s the way she goes”
Huskies goaltender Chase Marchand certainly was the best player on the ice tonight, as he turned aside 36 shots from the resilient Rebels.
“I thought we played a good game,” said marchand. “Our defence played great, they boxed out the guys and allowed me to see shots.
“We’re looking forward to the rematch [with the Knights].”
Like what happens to every Junior hockey player, there is always that one final game. Tonight, the Rebels Haydn Fleury was one of those guys as the 2014 seventh overall draft pick will vy for a spot on the Carolina Hurricanes next season.
“It’s certainly disappointing to be in this position
“We spotted them two quick, and we couldn’t really bounce back this time,” said Fleury. “We had the scoring chances and the shots on goal to do that, but the bounces just didn’t go our way.
“Coming here as a 15-year old was surreal, and the Sutter’s have been great to me. Next August I won’t be coming to Red Deer, I’ll be going down to Carolina – I’m going into Carolina next year to make their team.”
As we look toward the Memorial Cup Championship match Sunday afternoon, the CHL’s Top Ten ranked No. 1 Rouyn-Noranda Huskies face off again against the No. 3 London Knights. A matchup Huskies Head Coach Gilles Bouchard is looking forward too.
“We want to be better game after game,” said Bouchard. “We have a group of players who work very hard and compete very hard.
“If you want to win some day for sure we have to respect this. We have to compete and battle in every situation for 60 minute with consistency is what would be most important for Sunday.
Come Sunday, the Knights will have had a total of five days off since their last game and after taking a trip to Banff yesterday, they will be skating everyday up until the championship bought.
I am credentialed and covering the 2016 Memorial Cup in Red Deer. You can follow me on twitter here for live updates from all this year’s games.
My work at this year’s Memorial Cup:
Knights surge past the Rebels 6-2 in the tournament’s opening game – Beer League Heroes, May 21.
Conner Bleackley shines in first game in over two months – Copper and Blue, May 21.
Should the Oilers be looking at drafting Kale Clague? – Beer League Heroes, May 22.
Top lines from the Knights and Rebels dominate at the Memorial Cup – Copper and Blue, May 23.
Rebels top line of Helewka, Philp and DeBrusk lead the host squad to a 5-2 victory over the Huskies – Beer League Heroes, May 23.
Wheat Kings dethroned in “disappointing” loss to the Knights – Copper and Blue, May 24.
Tyler Parsons shines as Knights beat Huskies 5-2 to book berth into Memorial Cup final – Beer League Heroes, May 25.
Rebels eliminate the Wheat Kings and book a berth in the semi-finals – Copper and Blue, May 26