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Merkley, Kelowna defeat Rimouski at Memorial Cup

by NHL.com Staff / NHL.com

Nicholas Merkley, a top prospect for the 2015 NHL Draft, had two goals and an assist and the Kelowna Rockets defeated the Rimouski Oceanic 7-3 on Monday in the 2015 Memorial Cup at Pepsi Colisee in Quebec City, Quebec.

Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton Oilers) had two goals and an assist, and Gage Quinney scored two goals for Kelowna, the Western Hockey League champion. Madison Bowey (Washington Capitals) had one goal and two assists. Goaltender Jackson Whistle made 28 saves.

2015 Memorial Cup schedule/results

All times ET

May 22: Quebec 4, Kelowna 3
May 23: Oshawa 4, Rimouski 3
May 24: Oshawa 5, Quebec 4 (OT)
May 25: Kelowna 7, Rimouski 3
May 26: Oshawa vs. Kelowna, 7:30 p.m.
May 27: Quebec vs. Rimouski, 7:30 p.m.
May 28: Tiebreaker (if necessary), 7:30 p.m.
May 29: Semifinal round, 7:30 p.m.
May 31: Championship, 12:00 p.m.

"I thought our best players were our best players tonight," Kelowna coach Dan Lambert told the Memorial Cup website. "They controlled the game like they can and made a lot of good plays. That was more of the Kelowna Rockets that we've seen throughout the year."

Kelowna was playing for the first time since losing to the host Quebec Remparts 4-3 on Friday in the tournament opener.

Frederik Gauthier (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Michael Joly each had a goal and an assist for Rimouski, the champions of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Christopher Clapperton (Florida Panthers) also had a goal, and Alexis Loiseau had two assists. Goaltender Louis-Philip Guindon allowed five goals on 22 shots in 30 minutes. Philippe Desrosiers (Dallas Stars) made 12 saves in relief.

Kelowna scored three times in the first 14:27 of the first period, starting with a goal 52 seconds in by Merkley, No. 23 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2015 draft. Bowey and Quinney also scored for Kelowna, but Rimouski rallied on goals three minutes apart by Clapperton and Joly later in the first to make it a one-goal game after one period.

The Rockets took a 4-2 lead 1:52 into the second period on Quinney's power-play goal, and then at 10:42 when Merkley scored his second of the game, driving to the net and slipping the puck under Guindon.

Merkley leads the Memorial Cup with five points in two games, and his three goals are tied with teammates Draisaitl and Quinney for the tournament lead. The 5-foot-10, 191-pound center was sixth in the WHL in scoring in the regular season with 90 points in 72 games, and he was third in the WHL playoffs with 27 points in 19 games.

Desrosiers replaced Guindon after Merkley's second goal, but Kelowna kept pushing as Draisaitl scored at 13:18 to extend the lead to 6-2.

Gauthier's power-play goal at 13:36 of the third gave Rimouski some hope at 6-3, but Draisaitl raced down the wing and snapped a shot past Desrosiers for a shorthanded goal at 14:16.

Kelowna (1-1-0) has its final round-robin game Tuesday against the Oshawa Generals (2-0-0), the Ontario Hockey League champion. Rimouski (0-2-0) plays Wednesday against Quebec (1-0-1) in the final game of the round robin.

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