The game, a 7-3 rout by the Kelowna Rockets, was won by early chances. Even though it was played in the Rimouski Oceanic's home arena, the team never got a chance to rally their fans behind them. The arena was silenced almost immediately by the visiting Rockets at the 53rd second of the game, when Nick Merkley scored his first of two. As Jeff Marek pointed out, Merkley is draft eligible this year, and carried some of Kelowna's fire tonight.
Before many more minutes had passed, Kelowna's Madison Bowey netted another one at 6:16, and Gage Quinney at 14:27, to make three unanswered goals before Rimouski found their feet. Then, it was Rimouski's Cristopher Clapperton and Michael Joly (with an assist from Maple Leafs prospect Frederik Gauthier) within three minutes to cut the lead to 3-2. Even though shots were even midway through the first, the energy in the rink felt lopsided in favor of the visitors, and it took Joly's powerplay goal to regain the home team's momentum before the first intermission.
Sadly for Rimouski, this momentum was once again killed early in the second, at the 1:52 mark, on another tally from Quinney. Quinney's powerplay goal was arguably the straw that broke the camel's back, coming early enough in the second for the spirit to be sapped from the Rimouski bench. Rimouski goaltender Louis-Philip Guindon, in net to relieve starter Philippe Desrosiers, was chased by Merkley's second goal of the night. Desrosiers returned to the net only to immediately allow a sixth goal from Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl.
Rimouski's goaltending situation had been a question before entering the game, but Desrosiers answered it by allowing only one other goal in the final frame. His firm net presence, despite a barrage of pressure, gave Rimouski momentum enough for Gauthier to score a third tally. Too little came too late, and Draisaitl netted his second of the night on an end-to-end rush at 14:16, topping the lopsided game at 7-3.
Kelowna's concern entering this contest was to reduce their PIM from the previous game's 28 minutes. The players listened, improving to 19 PIM (although exceeding Rimouski's 17) and holding Rimouski to two powerplay goals in six chances.
The fourth goal by Quinney proved to be the game winner, and the other goals scored in the second and third were nothing but icing on the cake for a team that desperately needed the win to tally one toward clinching a semi-final berth. The Rockets need to celebrate swiftly and move on to their next match tomorrow night; they'll be meeting the only team that's currently clinched, the Oshawa Generals. Rimouski, now 0-2 in the tournament, plays the Quebec Remparts on Wednesday.
A scoring summary of the game can be found here at the Memorial Cup website.