Photo Credit: dayFREuro.com
Finally. At long last, the Quebec Remparts have staked their claim to a QMJHL championship, the first in the franchise’s modern history, and punching their ticket to Kamloops for the Memorial Cup in the process.
James Malatesta was awarded the Guy Lafleur Trophy for the Playoff MVP. Malatesta amassed 14 goals plus five game winners to go with 20 points through 18 games.
The Remparts trailed by a goal late in the third period but scored two goals in 1:09 to take the lead and secure the Gilles-Courteau Trophy with just 58 seconds remaining in the contest.
The Mooseheads opened the scoring after a tentative first period left both sides scoreless until Jack Martin netted a loose puck in front of the goal past William Rousseau to give Halifax the lead.
The goal was his first of the playoffs and first since November 19th.
The Moose were not done there, as Alex Doucet streaked down the wing with speed and used his 58-goal worthy shot to beat Rousseau blocker side, giving Halifax an insurance marker.
The cushion was short lived after a penalty let Quebec back into the game, and Evan Nause made them pay just after the powerplay expired on a shot from the point.
Josh Lawrence and Malatesta traded goals late in the frame to set up the third period to commence with a 3-2 lead for Halifax.
Shortly into the final period, Zachary Bolduc tied the game at three taking care of a broken play that allowed him to rip a shot past Mathis Rousseau.
Both teams traded chances for the rest of the frame until Zachary L’Heureux played the role of the hero for the Herd, wrapping a puck around the goal, which took a bounce off Rousseau’s skate, and Halifax regained the lead and the building became louder than it had all season long.
Elation quickly turned back to nerves as Kassim Gaudet collected a loose puck at the top of the Mooseheads zone and fired it past a flailing Rousseau to tie the game at four.
Just 1:09 later, Gaudet found himself the centre of an odd-man rush back towards the Mooseheads end and gave a cross-ice feed to Pier-Olivier Roy to give Quebec their first lead since game four in Halifax and held up to be the winner.
Remparts Head Coach Patrick Roy claimed his first QMJHL championship in the process, with Quebec acquiring their first title in the modern era of the franchise.
The Remparts franchise last won the former President’s Cup in 1976 and saw the franchise cease operations in 1985 before being resurrected in the mid-1990s.
The Mooseheads on the other hand emptied the tank on Sunday afternoon and will likely see a large portion of their roster return in the fall with only three overage players guaranteed to move on.
Led by deadline acquisitions Josh Lawrence and Alex Doucet, both of which tied for the team and playoff lead in points at 31 a piece.
The Remparts commence their quest for the Memorial Cup on Friday, May 26th where they will take on the Kamloops Blazers at 6pm PST.
Writer’s Note: It has been a pleasure to cover the Halifax Mooseheads and the QMJHL for this season at Area 51 Sports Network. While we grow our coverage of the Q, I just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to read these articles. There will be plenty more to come in the next week, coming days and months.