HALIFAX — The host Halifax Mooseheads will take on their Quebec Major Junior Hockey League rival in the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies on Sunday night for a chance to hoist the Memorial Cup.
Here’s a breakdown of the two teams entering the final:
Halifax: Winger Maxime Trepanier leads the Mooseheads with six points through three games at the tournament. Captain Antoine Morand leads the team with three goals while Samuel Asselin, who was played with Morand on last year’s Memorial Cup winning Acadie-Bathurst Titan, has two goals and one assist. Draft eligible prospect Raphael Lavoie has had a decent tournament, scoring once and adding an assist while also being physical.
Rouyn-Noranda: Boston Bruins prospect and Huskies rookie Jakub Lauko has had an impressive Memorial Cup and enters the final tied for the tournament lead with seven points. Felix Bibeau’s two-goal third period in the semifinal against Guelph gave him four goals for the tournament — tops at the event.
Halifax: The Mooseheads defence has limited its opposition to seven goals over the course of three games. They faced an onslaught attack from Rouyn-Noranda to end the round robin and will be sure to face much of the same Sunday night. All six Halifax defenders haven’t been much of a threat offensively, combining for five points.
Rouyn-Noranda: Noah Dobson is the anchor on the back end for the Huskies and logged an impressive 36 minutes in their semifinal win over the Storm. He has one goal and two assists at the Memorial Cup to go along with 15 shots on goal which ranks third among all Rouyn-Noranda skaters.
Halifax: Alexis Gravel has put in an impressive tournament to date and has a 2.33 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. His best game of the tournament came against the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders when he stopped 33 of 35 shots for the win. He turned aside 36 of 40 shots when Halifax faced the Huskies in the round robin.
Rouyn-Noranda: Samuel Harvey’s numbers at the Memorial Cup haven’t been flattering — 3.75 goals-against average and .882 save percentage — but he has made the big stops when it counts. Harvey made 34 saves against Guelph in the semi and faced a barrage of pressure in the final minute of the third. He’s one of three Rouyn-Noranda players (Peter Abbandonato and Jacob Neuve the others) looking for redemption after losing in the final of the 2016 Memorial Cup.
Halifax: The Mooseheads have had the most power-play opportunities of any team in the tournament with 15 but have only capitalized on two of their chances for a conversion rate of 13.3 per cent. They’ve made up for it on the penalty kill by squashing 91.7 per cent of their opponent’s opportunities — best in the tournament. Halifax has allowed just one goal in the 12 occasions they’ve been on the penalty kill.
Rouyn-Noranda: The Huskies have only had eight chances on the man-advantage and have converted on two of their opportunities (two for 8). Their penalty kill has been just as good as Halifax’s, operating at 90 per cent and allowing just one goal on 10 chances.
COACHES AND HISTORY
Halifax: Eric Veilleux is looking for his second Memorial Cup title after winning in 2012 with the Shawinigan Cataractes. He took over the Mooseheads at the beginning of this season and led them to top spot in the QMJHL’s Eastern Conference standings. Halifax is looking for its second national title in franchise history and last won in 2013.
Rouyn-Noranda: Mario Pouliot is trying to become the first head coach in Memorial Cup history to win two-straight championships with different teams. He captured the 2018 title with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan and re-joined the Huskies as head coach/GM shortly afterwards. The CHL coach of the year led his team to a Canadian record 25-game win streak and Rouyn-Noranda won the President Cup for the second time in franchise history. The Huskies are looking to win their first national title on Sunday night.