It will be an all Quebec Major Junior Hockey League matchup to determine the 2019 Memorial Cup champion.
In a wild semifinal affair Friday at the Scotiabank Centre, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies held off a late rally by the Guelph Storm to come away with a 6-4 win in the semifinal.
“I’m really proud of the team,” Huskies forward Jakub Lauko said to Sportsnet’s Rob Faulds after the game. “We lost our first game to Guelph on Saturday and we haven’t looked back since then.”
Felix Bibeau potted a pair of goals in the third period to give the Huskies a 5-3 lead, but the Storm proved why they were the comeback kids of the Ontario Hockey League post-season with their season on the line.
Isaac Ratcliffe made it a one-goal game with 1:13 to go and MacKenzie Entwistle nearly tied the game with 20 seconds left on the clock, but his shot hit the post.
Rafael Harvey-Pinard would then race down the ice and find an empty net as time expired to give the QMJHL champions a spot in the final.
“Guelph is a really good team,” Lauko said. “Obviously we didn’t know what to expect when we first played them, but they are a tough team to play against.”
Harvey-Pinard led the way on offence with a goal and two assists, while Lauko dished out a pair of helpers.
Alex Beaucage, Joel Teasdale and Tyler Himan also scored for the Huskies, who received a 34-save performance from Samuel Harvey.
Ratcliffe had a pair of goals for the Storm, who haven’t captured a Memorial Cup in six trips to the event.
Jack Hanley had a goal and an assist for the OHL champions, while Nick Suzuki and Entwistle had a pair of assists each.
Cedric Ralph also scored and Anthony Popovich turned aside 33 shots.
With the win, the Huskies will now take on the host Halifax Mooseheads in Sunday’s final, which gets underway at 5 p.m.
The Huskies topped the Mooseheads in six games in the league final and picked up a 4-3 round-robin on Wednesday, but Halifax advanced straight to the final due to having a better goal differential.
“It’s the biggest game of the year,” Lauko said. “We’re going to enjoy it.”
The Mooseheads are looking to win their second Memorial Cup, with their first coming in 2013 when they beat the Portland Winterhawks in Saskatoon.
Meanwhile, the Huskies are looking for their first title as they lost in overtime to the London Knights at the 2016 tournament in Red Deer.