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Oshawa tops Kelowna, moves to Memorial Cup final

by Staff /

Cole Cassels (Vancouver Canucks) and Tobias Lindberg (Ottawa Senators) each scored to help the Oshawa Generals earn a spot in the 2015 Memorial Cup championship game with a 2-1 win against the Kelowna Rockets on Tuesday at Pepsi Colisee in Quebec City, Quebec.

Oshawa goaltender Ken Appleby made 20 saves.

"That's a good hockey team we just beat," Cassels told the Memorial Cup website. "We can thank [Appleby] for saving us in the final minutes there on a 5-on-3, as well as the guys on the ice. That's a character win."

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 2, Kelowna 1
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.

Oshawa was the only team to finish round-robin play 3-0-0. The Generals, champions of the Ontario Hockey League, will next play in the final game Sunday, when they will try for their fifth Memorial Cup title. They most recently won the championship in 1990 after winning in 1939, 1940 and 1944.

Gage Quinney scored for Kelowna, the Western Hockey League champion. Goaltender Jackson Whistle made 27 saves.

Kelowna trailed 2-1 after two periods but had a great chance to at least tie the game with a 59-second 5-on-3 power play late in the third period. But Appleby made four saves, and a Kelowna power play that had gone 3-for-11 in its first two tournament games went 0-for-3 Tuesday.

The Rockets misfired on offense after scoring seven goals Monday in a 7-3 win against the Rimouski Oceanic, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion.

After a scoreless first period, Cassels scored at 4:15 of the second. Whistle stopped a shot by Michael Dal Colle (New York Islanders), but the Generals' Dakota Mermis got the puck to Cassels for a one-timer.

Then at 17:16 of the second, Lindberg finished a 2-on-1 break with Sam Harding, keeping the puck, making a quick move and scoring to make it 2-0 Oshawa.

Quinney, a 2015 NHL Draft prospect, scored 55 seconds later to get Kelowna within 2-1. Tyson Baillie sent Quinney in alone on Appleby for his tournament-best fourth goal.

The Rockets continued to push in the third, but Appleby answered all challenges. He stopped Dillon Dube alone in front at 3:33, and then at 11:07 he scrambled to stop Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton Oilers) with his stick before making another save on Rockets captain Madison Bowey (Washington Capitals). Bowey led the Rockets with six shots on goal, including one on the late 5-on-3 advantage.

Kelowna forward Nicholas Merkley, No. 23 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2015 draft and the tournament's leading scorer with five points, was held without a shot on goal or a point.

"We had to shut down their top line and I think we did a pretty good job of that," Dal Colle said. "I can't lie; I was pretty nervous on the bench for the last three minutes. Appleby has proven to be one of the best goaltenders in the CHL this year, and I think he did that again."

The Rockets finished round-robin play 1-2-0. They remain alive for a chance in the tiebreaker game Thursday, depending on the outcome of the final round-robin game Wednesday between the host Quebec Remparts (1-0-1) and Rimouski (0-2-0).

A win by Quebec would make it the home team in the semifinal on Friday.

Rimouski defeated Quebec in the second overtime in Game 7 of the QMJHL final May 18.

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