The Oshawa Generals managed to hold onto the lead they earned in the second period, taking down the Kelowna Rockets 2-1 in Tuesday’s much-anticipated Memorial Cup matchup.
After a scoreless first period, the OHL champion Generals would draw first blood.
Dakota Mermis fed Cole Cassels at the side of the net and he buried it at 4:15 of the second period. Michael Dal Colle recorded the second assist.
Tobias Lindberg gave Oshawa a 2-0 lead at 17:16 of the middle frame. Coming down the ice on a 2-on-1 rush, Lindberg executed a beautiful toe-drag and buried his shot behind Kelowna goaltender Jackson Whistle. Sam Harding and Anthony Cirelli both added assists on the goal.
Before that score was finished being announced over the sound system in the building, the Rockets responded. Tyson Baillie found Gage Quinney skating toward the net and chipped the puck up the middle. Quinney settled the bouncing puck and finished to cut the Oshawa lead to 2-1. Madison Bowey added an assist.
The Rockets, still trailing by one, were given a huge opportunity to tie the game late in the third. A kneeing call to Mermis gave Kelowna a power play, and a delay of game penalty made it 5-on-3 for a full minute.
Despite some chances by the Rockets on that man advantage, Oshawa goaltender Ken Appleby was outstanding and Baillie missed a wide-open net.
Rockets centre and Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl finished with three shots on goal. He was 16 of 29 in the faceoff dot.
Oshawa finishes the round robin with a perfect 3-0 record and advances directly to the Memorial Cup final on Sunday.
If Quebec beats Rimouski in the round-robin finale tomorrow, Kelowna and Quebec will square off in Friday’s semifinal. However, if Rimouski earns its first win of the tournament, there will be a three-way tie at 1-2 and a tie-breaker game on Thursday will have to be played to determine Friday’s semifinal matchup.