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Rimouski vs. Oshawa 2015 Memorial Cup results: Gauthier's strong third period push falls short

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The Rimouski Oceanic and Oshawa Generals opened their MasterCard Memorial Cup action in dramatic fashion.

Claus Andersen/Getty Images

In a game tabbed for hosting the MasterCard Memorial Cup's two biggest teams, it was one of its biggest players who made an early impact, as 6'6" Montreal Canadiens first rounder Michael McCarron won an offensive zone draw to 6'3" Ottawa Senators prospect Tobias Lindberg to open the game's scoring for Oshawa.

Shortly thereafter, Islanders top prospect and fellow imposing Oshawa forward Michael Dal Colle sniped over the glove of Dallas Stars prospect Philippe Desrosiers to give the Generals a 2-0 lead.

Just a few minutes into the game, the big boys for the Generals showed they came to play.

Rimouski, stifled early by the Generals' relentless puck pursuit in the same way the Erie Otters were in the OHL Finals, managed just one shot through the opening ten minutes of the first period.

Despite the struggles, a lucky bounce would alter the early fortunes for the Oceanic, turning the game around in a dime on a weird bounce off of Tyler Boland's leg in front of the net to cut the lead in half.

Just 44 seconds later, the momentum continued to boil over, as undrafted Rimouski leading scorer Alexis Loiseau picked off a pass deep in the offensive zone and took the puck to the net to tie the game.

A strong shift from Frederik Gauthier, who cycled the puck down low and created a chance for linemate and Panthers prospect Christopher Clapperton.

As the teams traded minor penalties - including delay of game penalties for shooting the puck over the glass -throughout the remained of the game, neither were able to capitalize.

Following a fight between the game's two biggest players (McCarron and Flyers prospect Samuel Morin), the Generals appeared reenergized and ready to retake control of the game.

And they did, thanks to a clean faceoff win from top pivot Cole Cassels (Vancouver Canucks) to Stephen Desrocher who beat Desrosiers high (yet again).

As the third period got underway, Oshawa held a one-goal (3-2) and seven-shot (21-14) lead.

Rimouski was given an early chance to get back into the game in the third period though, as Flames prospect Hunter Smith took his second minor penalty of the game, tripping up Michael Joly.

On the powerplay, Winnipeg Jets prospect Jan Kostalek would capitalize with a big shot. The powerplay quarterback's goal was his fifth in as many games as he continues to mature into one of the CHL's better defensemen.

Gauthier, who made a strong play on the back check for Rimouski, registered the primary assist on the goal before making his way to the front of the net to also provide the screen.

And Gauthier's strong play in the third continued after the assist, receiving a pass in the slot to force Ken Appleby into a big save before following it up with a good defensive play and rush on the following shift.

The Generals would bounce back.

With 12 minutes remaining, Dal Colle nearly scored again, beating Desrosiers but not the post.

Minutes later, Smith would beat Desrosiers and the post after a dump in from behind the blueline left a big rebound.

As Rimouski pulled Desrosiers for the extra attacker, Loiseau jumped over the bench too quickly, taking a too many men penalty with 1:28 remaining.

The mistake proved costly and Rimouski, an outstanding road team, saw its 12-game win streak on the road snapped.

Despite two big faceoff wins in the final 30 seconds, a massive save from Appleby on Loiseau kept the 4-3 lead in tact.

Gauthier finished the game with one assist and 17/30 (57%) in the faceoff circle.