The London Knights have been the most dominate team in post-season hockey this year, winning 15 straight games coming into their contest vs the QMJHL Champions. Everyone was hoping the Wheat Kings would be a challenge to them, but London won 9-1.
Rouyn-Noranda spent their season running roughshod over the QMJHL. They finished with a 54-9-3-2 record, winning 75% of their games and getting 83% of points available to them (London would win 67% of games and take 77% of points). They had a +121 goal differential, to London's +137.
This game looked to be the best match up of the tournament, my pick for the final, and the hopes of the non-London fans for the Huskies to be the giant killers.
RNH makes the first mistake of the game, Antoine Waked taking a roughing penalty nine seconds in. If there's one thing you shouldn't do is give London an advantage.
The Huskies get lucky and no power play goal emerges, but Jeremy Lauzon ('15 BOS) gets called for roughing 4 minutes later and JJ Piccinich ('15 TOR) scores the games first goal halfway through the penalty.
Another PP goal for the Knights. JJ Piccinich (TOR) banks the puck off of Philippe Myers (PHI) in front. pic.twitter.com/s7zhrLQHMZ— Kathryn Jean (@msconduct) May 25, 2016
Five more penalties are called without a goal, but on the sixth one - a cross checking to Rouyn-Noranda's Anthony-John Greer ('15 COL) - Matthew Tkachuk ('16 Draft) scores his second of the tournament.
The game is the closest we've seen, that could be due to the 11 penalties called, and London takes a 2-0 lead into the intermission.
London's Chandler Yakimowicz ('14 STL) gets ejected from the game 3 minutes into the second period after checking Zachary Lauzon ('17 Draft) from behind.
Here's the CJ Yakimowicz (STL) hit on Zachary Lauzon (2017). People will definitely have different opinions on this. pic.twitter.com/lCC4XyU5be— Kathryn Jean (@msconduct) May 25, 2016
The Huskies are unable to score on the 5 minute power play, but get lucky when JJ Piccinich takes a tripping penalty and Time Meier ('15 SJ) nets his fourth of the tournament, cutting the Knights lead in half.
Jacob Graves (undrafted) puts the Knights at another disadvantage near the end of the second, but Max Jones ('16 Draft) doesn't need a power play and he puts the Knights up 3-1 shorthanded.
Three more penalties open the third period, and it's Philippe Myers (undrafted) taking a hooking penalty that gives us our next power play goal, by Christian Dvorak ('14 ARZ), giving London a 4-1 lead.
Timo Meier scores his second of the game, on a power play after Chris Martenet ('15 DAL) got called for high sticking.
With a 2 goal deficit Rouyn-Noranda pulls the goalie, but Matthew Tkachuk scores on the empty net and seals London's third win of the tournament.
1 - Tyler Parsons, London
2 - Mitch Marner, London
3 - Time Meier, Rouyn-Noranda
With the win London (3-0) gets a bye to the finals on Sunday. Rouyn-Noranda (1-2) looks to have a semi-final spot locked in. The only way they would be eliminated is if Brandon (0-2) defeats Red Deer (1-1) by 10 or more goals tonight.
Martins Dzierkals had no points this game and was a -2.
Mitch Marner added another 4 assists this game, bringing his tournament points total to 13. If Marner scores 4 or more points in the final he'll set the single tournament record for points. If three of those are assists he'll have the record for most assists.
JJ Piccinich scored his second goal of the tournament, making this 2 goals in two straight games.
Tonight's game is host Red Deer Rebels vs WHL champion Brandon Wheat Kings in the final round robin game.