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Memorial Cup: What we learned

Bibeau leads Rouyn-Noranda to semifinal win; will play Halifax for championship Sunday

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

The Memorial Cup, a four-team round-robin tournament to determine the champion of the Canadian Hockey League, features the winners of the Ontario Hockey League (Guelph Storm), Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies) and Western Hockey League (Prince Albert Raiders), and the host Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. The event is being held at Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, from May 17-26, and features several NHL-drafted prospects and some eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft.

In the semifinals of the Memorial Cup, Rouyn-Noranda defeated Guelph 6-4 on Friday.

Here are three things we learned:


1. Bibeau strikes again

Rouyn-Noranda forward Felix Bibeau scored two goals, including the game-winner.

He scored from the slot at 5:40 of the third period for a 4-3 lead and made it 5-3 off a feed from Jakub Lauko (Boston Bruins) at 12:33.

Bibeau, eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft, has goals in three straight games and leads the Memorial Cup with four.

Lauko, who had two assists, is tied for the tournament lead with seven points (two goals, five assists).

Rouyn-Noranda will play Halifax in an all-QMJHL championship game on Sunday.

It will be the 10th time they have played this season. Rouyn-Noranda won both games in the regular season, 5-4 on Jan. 13 and 8-4 on March 2. Rouyn-Noranda defeated Halifax in six games in the best-of-7 QMJHL championship, and Rouyn-Noranda won 4-3 on Wednesday in the final round-robin game.

"It's the best scenario probably," Bibeau told the CHL website. "I think it's going to an NHL atmosphere. … We'll need to stay calm because the crowd will be behind them. We need to stay calm and enjoy the game." 

2. Dobson dominates again

Rouyn-Noranda defenseman Noah Dobson (New York Islanders) had one assist, a plus-2 rating and four shots on goal, including a chance on a breakaway with 3:06 remaining in the third period. The Memorial Cup doesn't make time on ice statistics public, but coach Mario Pouliot estimated Dobson played about 36 minutes Saturday.

And Pouliot said Dobson was as good in the final minutes of the third period as he was in the first minute of the first period.

"We were managing his ice time during the (QMJHL) playoffs, during the (regular) season … we were looking at ice time earlier the (Memorial Cup) tournament but in the semifinal, do or die game, there's no choice," Pouliot said. "He's a guy who manages pretty well with his ice and he knows when it's time to jump in and when it's time to stay back. Just look at his breakaway, it was late in the third and he was skating like it was his first shift of the game. He's an effortless skater. He can log those minutes." 

3. Ratcliffe keeps scoring

Isaac Ratcliffe (Philadelphia Flyers) scored twice for Guelph. At 6:28 of the first period he finished a 2-on-1 with MacKenzie Entwistle (Chicago Blackhawks) to tie the game 1-1. Then with 1:13 remaining in the third he scored off a cross-crease pass from Entwistle to get Guelph within 5-4.

Ratcliffe scored three goals in four games at the Memorial Cup after scoring 50 goals in 68 regular-season games and 15 in 24 OHL playoff games.

Entwistle and Nick Suzuki (Montreal Canadiens) each had two assists. Suzuki has seven points (three goals, four assists), and is tied with teammate Sean Durzi (Los Angeles Kings) and Lauko for the tournament lead.


2019 Memorial Cup schedule and results

May 17: Halifax 4, Prince Albert 1

May 18: Guelph 5, Rouyn-Noranda 2

May 19: Halifax 4, Guelph 2

May 20: Rouyn-Noranda 6, Prince Albert 3

May 21: Guelph 5, Prince Albert 2

May 22: Rouyn-Noranda 4, Halifax 3

May 24: Semifinal: Rouyn-Noranda 6, Guelph 4

May 26: Championship game: Halifax vs. Rouyn-Noranda (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVAS)



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