Moncton in Memorial Cup final
The Moncton Wildcats and Quebec Remparts will settle their heated rivalry in the Memorial Cup final after the host Wildcats beat the Vancouver Giants in the semifinal on Friday.
Moncton defeated Vancouver 3-1 in front over 7,000 elated fans at the Coliseum.
Keith Yandle and Matt Marquardt paced Moncton, with Christian Gaudet adding an empty-net goal.
Brad Marchand engineered the winning goal, while Josh Tordjman made 21 saves in net.
"I didn't really expect to score a goal. I just kinda closed my eyes and shot," said Marquardt. "It was a great pass by Brad Marchand. I was just glad to get a big goal for the club and I owe it all to the guys."
Tournament leading scorer Gilbert Brule replied for Vancouver. Dustin Slade stopped 26 shots.
"I'm still trying to get over we were that close to getting to the Memorial Cup finals," said Brule. "It's kinda like your life is taken away. It's tough."
The Wildcats defeated the Remparts in six games to win the Quebec junior title last month.
But Quebec snapped Moncton's 16-game winning streak on home ice on Wednesday, helping them earn a bye to the final.
That loss came mere days after Quebec coach Patrick Roy ruffled feathers of both Vancouver and Moncton with comments about the quality of each team's goaltending.
No. 1-ranked Moncton will play the No. 2 Remparts in the 88th Memorial Cup final Sunday (4 p.m. ET).
The semifinal winner has won just eight of the last 34 titles, but this is the first year where there has been a rest day before the final.
The Giants had advanced to the semifinal on Thursday with a 6-0 rout in the tiebreaker game over the Peterborough Petes.
Just as in the first game between the two clubs at the tournament, won 3-2 by Moncton, Vancouver controlled much of the play in the first period.
They could not score against Tordjman, however, despite holding a 13-7 advantage in shots.
Just over four minutes into the middle period, Moncton's Yandle spun around and fired a shot from the point that eluded a screened Slade. Philippe Dupuis and Adam Pineault drew assists on the play.
The Wildcats nearly scored again just seconds later, but Slade robbed Jean-Philipe Chabot in close by making a sweeping glove save before the puck crossed the goal line.
Brule knotted the game midway through the period when he picked up a loose puck in the slot and beat Tordjman with a wrist shot.
Brule, who has spent time with the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets, finishes with six goals and six assists in five games. His 12 points are more than the next two highest scorers in the tournament combined.
Marchand did the legwork on the winning goal just over six minutes into the third, controlling the puck behind Vancouver's net before finding Marquardt in the slot with a pass.
"Last year I was playing tier two and here I am in the Memorial Cup final," Marquardt said. "I went to London last year to watch some games in the tournament and I never thought in my wildest dreams I'd be part of it."
Vancouver pulled Slade with over a minute left, but it resulted inan insurancegoalfor the Wildcats.
Things turned ugly in the final seconds with a skirmish involving all of the players on the ice.
The game pitted two former NHL head coaches against each other, Vancouver's Don Hay and Moncton's Ted Nolan.
Hay was looking for his third Memorial Cup as coach. He guided Kamloops to back-to-back titles beginning in 1994.
"The second half of the game, we really didn't mount many offensive opportunities," he said. "It was a grind-it-out, chess match type of game."
Nolan coached the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to the crown the season before Hay achieved his feat.
"I wouldn't want to play them in a seven-game series, I'll tell you that," said Nolan of the Giants.
His team will now face their biggest rival, who have been resting since Wednesday's game.
With files from Canadian Press