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NHL Draft

Memorial Cup: What we learned

Bruins prospect Lauko leads Rouyn-Noranda to win; Halifax gains bye into championship game despite loss

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 sixth game of the Memorial Cup, Rouyn-Noranda defeated Halifax 4-3 on Wednesday.

Here are three things we learned on the sixth day:


1. Lauko lights the lamp

Jakub Lauko (Boston Bruins) scored the game-winning goal for Rouyn-Noranda with 55 seconds remaining in the third period. Halifax turned the puck over in its end and Rouyn-Noranda defenseman Justin Bergeron whipped a pass across the ice to Lauko, who drifted to the right circle, found an angle and beat Halifax goalie Alexis Gravel (Chicago Blackhawks) to the short side, past his blocker.

Lauko also had an assist on a goal by Felix Bibeau at 14:38 of the first period that gave Rouyn-Noranda a 1-0 lead.

With five points (two goals, three assists), Lauko, a third-round pick (No. 77) in the 2018 NHL Draft, leads Rouyn-Noranda and is tied for third in scoring at the Memorial Cup. The 19-year-old forward had 41 points (21 goals, 20 assists) in 44 games this season.

Bergeron (5-foot-11, 175 pounds) is No. 153 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2019 NHL Draft. The left-handed shot has one assist in three Memorial Cup games. He led Rouyn-Noranda defensemen during the regular season with 57 points (16 goals, 41 assists) in 65 games.


2. Halifax wins by losing

Halifax lost the game but earned a bye into the championship game Sunday.

Halifax, Rouyn-Noranda and Guelph finished round-robin play with 2-1 records. The first tiebreaker is to remove goals scored against Prince Albert, which the three teams defeated. That left Halifax and Guelph tied with seven goals each and a plus-1 goal differential; Rouyn-Noranda was eliminated because it had a minus-2 goal differential without its victory against Prince Albert. The second tiebreaker is head-to-head play; Halifax won 4-2 against Guelph on Monday.

Guelph and Rouyn-Noranda will play in the semifinal game Friday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVAS). With Prince Albert eliminated after going 0-3 in round-robin play, there will be no tiebreaker game Thursday.

Benoit-Olivier Groulx (Anaheim Ducks), Arnaud Durandeau (New York Islanders) and Antoine Morand (Ducks) scored in the second period to give Halifax a 3-2 lead entering the third, but they couldn't hold on. Gravel made 36 saves.


3. Rouleau finally finds the net

Rouyn-Noranda defensemen William Rouleau scored the game-tying goal at 10:13 of the third period. It was his first goal since Feb. 8, a span of 20 regular-season and QMJHL playoff games. 

The goal came in his first game at the Memorial Cup after he had been scratched the first two games.

Rouleau (5-11, 165), a left-shot defenseman, had 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) and was a plus-11 in 59 regular-season QMJHL games, and one assist in six playoff games. He is eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft.


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: Guelph vs. Rouyn-Noranda (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVAS)

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



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