Remparts down Rockets to open Memorial Cup

If there was lingering pain from losing the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final in Game 7 overtime, the Quebec Remparts overcame it on Friday night.

QUEBEC — If there was lingering pain from losing the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final in Game 7 overtime, the Quebec Remparts overcame it on Friday night.

Goals from defencemen Nikolas Brouillard, Matt Murphy and Ryan Graves and an empty-net goal from Adam Erne that ended up as the winner gave the Remparts a 4-3 victory over the Kelowna Rockets in the opening game of the Mastercard Memorial Cup.

Their last game at the Pepsi Colisee was when they lost the league title to the Rimouski Oceanic in Game 7 double OT, so to send a crowd of 9,497 that included Prime Minister Stephen Harper home happy was a relief.

“We have a good group and they bounced back well,” said coach Philippe Boucher.

The Remparts used a high-paced transition game and strong goaltending from Zach Fucale to jump on a Kelowna side that looked rusty in its first game in 10 days since sweeping the Western Hockey League final.

But Quebec, which outshot Kelowna 31-29, had some hairy moments at the end.

After Erne’s goal at 18:56 of the third, the Remparts had two players sent off for chippy minor penalties. With goalie Jackson Whistle pulled for an extra attacker and a two-man advantage, Leon Draisaitl scored into an open side with 36 seconds left to play for the Rockets.

Only a big glove save by Fucale with one second left preserved the win for the Remparts.

“As a team we had a good start, that helped me out.” said Fucale. “We haven’t won anything.

“We’ve only got one in the books. We can’t be satisfied with one win. We have to wake up and start all over again.”

Nick Merkley and Gage Quinney also scored for Kelowna, which burned itself with penalties to key players.

That included a 10-minute misconduct at the end of the second frame to star centre Draisaitl after a mix-up with fellow Edmonton Oilers prospect Marc-Olivier Roy.

“You can’t take those penalties and that’s on me as well,” said Draisaitl. “The refs are a little different here and that’s how it is.

“I’m not going to comment on anything else in that, but we have to be more disciplined.”

The Remparts got the first goal when Brouillard, posted at the top of the right circle, took a pass from Vladimir Tkachev and drilled a shot to the top corner at 5:18.

Some dogged work in the corner by Tkachev set up the Remparts’ second goal as Murphy’s point shot dribbled through after Whistle was bumped in front of the net at 13:22 of the second.

The Rockets took advantage of lax play by the home side’s power play as Cole Linaker won a race for the puck in the Quebec end and set up Merkley alone at the far side for a shot that Fucale only got a piece of.

Quebec answered with a short-handed goal of its own 2:08 in the second. Whistle stopped Duclair on a breakaway, but the net was wide open for Graves on the rebound.

Josh Morrissey’s point shot on a power play was tipped in by Quinney at 12:43.

“Our focus and execution weren’t where they need to be at this time of year,” said Kelowna coach Dan Lambert, who also added penalties like the one to Draisaitl made overcoming a deficit harder.

The Rockets now have a two-day break before they play Rimouski on Monday night. The Remparts are back in action Sunday against the Ontario Hockey League’s Oshawa Generals.

The Generals and the Oceanic see their first action Saturday afternoon.

The CHL announced that for this tournament, the video goal judge can disallow a goal in cases where the play was offside but wasn’t called by the linesmen.

Just Posted

Alberta hiring more paramedics and buying new ambulances, none for Red Deer

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer is not concerned the provincial government didn’t… Continue reading

‘My nightmare began again’: Close call as bus carrying Humboldt crash survivor rear-ended

CALGARY — A terrifying ordeal for Humboldt Broncos survivor Ryan Straschnitzki this… Continue reading

Halifax airport operations normalize after Boeing 747 runway overshoot

HALIFAX — The Halifax Stanfield International Airport has resumed normal operations a… Continue reading

Bentley family left without a home grateful for community support

Central Albertans are coming together to support a Bentley family left homeless… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP ready for new mandatory alcohol screening law

Red Deer RCMP are ready to enforce a new law intended to… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer and District Kennel Club Dog Show at Westerner Park

The Red Deer and District Kennel Club is holding a dog show… Continue reading

Pence aide out of running to be Trump’s next chief of staff

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top pick to replace chief of staff… Continue reading

Swath of South faces wintry mess: Snow, sleet, freezing rain

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain… Continue reading

‘I killed my best friend’: Opioids’ fatal grip on mayor, pal

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

Brothers, 20, face second-degree murder charge in death of teen: police

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Police west of Toronto say two brothers have been… Continue reading

A young mayor, his friend, and a fatal attraction to opioids

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

GM fights to retain key tax credit amid plant closing plans

WASHINGTON — General Motors is fighting to retain a valuable tax credit… Continue reading

TTC union asks provincial government to step in on transition to Presto

TORONTO — The union representing transit workers in Canada’s most populous city… Continue reading

Small pot growers find roadblocks on path to microcultivation licences

Yan Boissonneault’s daughter was turning blue. Without warning, his baby had stopped… Continue reading

Most Read