Rouyn-Noranda beats Red Deer, will play London in Memorial Cup final | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Rouyn-Noranda beats Red Deer, will play London in Memorial Cup final

May 27, 2016 - 9:56 PM

RED DEER, Alta. - Francis Perron started to believe early in the season that his Rouyn-Noranda Huskies could compete with any team in the Canadian Hockey League. Now they are just one victory away from being the 2016 Memorial Cup champions.

Perron had a goal and an assist as Rouyn-Noranda downed the host Red Deer Rebels 3-1 on Friday in the tournament semifinal.

The Huskies will be playing for their first-ever Memorial Cup and face the OHL champion London Knights, who went undefeated in the round robin en route to a direct berth in the championship game.

"At camp I knew the team was special, I didn't expect us to be this good, but after 20 games we talked about it and said, 'boys we have a great team and we can do this,'" said Perron, whose club started the QMJHL regular season on a 14-game point streak.

"We just kept believing and knew we could do it."

Perron opened the scoring with 9:09 to play in the first period, one-timing a shot blocker side on Red Deer's Rylan Toth from the top of the face-off circle while on the power play. The Ottawa Senators prospect and Rouyn-Noranda's captain, who was named QMJHL regular-season and playoff MVP, entered the semis with five assists in three games, but was still searching for his first goal.

"Just to get that first goal for me and for the team was a great feeling," said Perron. "I was getting chances throughout the tournament and working hard, but it felt great. To get that first goal was big."

Martins Dzierkals and Nikolas Brouillard also scored for the Huskies while Timo Meier chipped in with two assists.

Luke Philp scored for the Rebels.

Chase Marchand made 36 saves for the win and at times was the difference maker as Red Deer tried to push back after falling behind early. The Rebels controlled much of the game after the first period and outshot the Huskies 26-12 in the final 40 minutes.

"I thought their goalie was the best player on the ice tonight," said Rebels coach Brent Sutter.

Toth stopped 24-of-27 shots in a losing cause.

The pace was quick through the opening five minutes of the game and both teams had their chances to score before Perron beat Toth.

Dzierkals made it 2-0 for the Huskies just over a minute later. The Latvian-born winger took the puck from the corner, skated out front and lifted a backhand past Toth with 8:02 left in the period.

Red Deer also fell behind two goals against Rouyn-Noranda in the round-robin portion of the tournament before rallying for a 5-2 win.

"Same thing that happened the first game, we spotted them two quick goals but we couldn't really bounce back this time," said 20-year-old Rebels defenceman Haydn Fleury, who most likely played his last game of junior hockey and will join the Carolina Hurricanes organization in the fall.

Philp had a great chance to cut Rouyn-Noranda's lead in half with five to play in the first, but had the puck roll off his stick after getting Marchand to bite on a deke.

The Rebels came out with more jump than their opposition to start the second. But Josh Mahura took an interference penalty in his own end and the Huskies made them pay when Brouillard was able to squeeze a wrist shot from the point past a screened Toth 4:04 into the period to make it 3-0.

"We were just making sure we kept going, no backing down and letting them dominate us," said Perron.

Red Deer finally got on the board while up a man when Philp banged in a rebound from the side of the net at 13:34. The goal re-ignited his team and they kept up the pressure the rest of the period and Marchand had to come up big twice in the final minute.

"He's calm and competes, never gives up in his crease. That's Chase Marchand," said Huskies coach Gilles Bouchard.

Adam Musil had a glorious chance to score shorthanded but deked himself out when trying to fool Marchand.

The hometown crowd chanted for the final three minutes of the game, but Red Deer couldn't overcome the QMJHL champions.

Despite the loss, Sutter said he was proud of what his team accomplished, especially knocking the WHL champion Brandon Wheat Kings out of the four-team tournament.

"I know coming into this that a lot of people saw three champions and a host team, but I think the host team has shown that they're a pretty good hockey team," said Sutter.

Notes: Attendance at the Enmax Centrium was 7,562.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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