Memorial Cup: Remparts serve a beating to the host team
KAMLOOPS | The Quebec Remparts had predicted a storm at the start of the game against the Kamloops Blazers, and storm they had. But the tide soon turned in favor of the Red Devils, who dominated the majority of the game and emerged with a convincing 8-3 victory over the host team, opening the curtain on the Memorial Cup tournament.
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In a tournament as short as this one, a win is worth its weight in gold for the Remparts, which for all intents and purposes ensures at least one entry into the tiebreaker match.
“We’re happy, but we didn’t come here just to win the first game,” admitted Nathan Gaucher. We are looking a little further, but we are satisfied with the result today. It gives confidence, especially coming into a tournament like this, you never know what to expect. »
In recent days, Roy had hammered on the importance of having a good start to the game to calm the “storm” in the first minutes for the Blazers in front of their supporters.
And storm is probably the word that best describes what the Remparts went through from the start of the match, while the locals completely dominated the first moments. After the first seven minutes of play, it was 7-0 on shots to Kamloops, but the Remparts gave full meaning to the phrase that says it’s not quantity, but quality that counts.
With 7min 24s gone in the engagement, Justin Robidas went there with a nice piece of individual play to beat his roofer before handing off to James Malatesta who didn’t miss his chance. The last playoff’s most valuable player thus scored his 15th goal in his 19th game since the start of the playoffs. The Blazers tied the game before the end of the engagement, thanks to Caedan Bankier, but the mission was accomplished.
“Going out 1-1 after the first period was a defining point in the game. We expected a big start from them and we took three penalties. Going out 1-1 gave the boys a lot of confidence,” summed up Patrick Roy.
A convincing second
That confidence soon carried over into the second, which the Remparts dominated from start to finish, scoring no fewer than four unanswered goals from Malatesta, his second, Nathan Gaucher, Théo Rochette and Kassim Gaudet.
Dayla Kuefler made it 5-2 before the period ended, then Matthew Seminoff gave hope in the third with a power play goal.
The door then opened as the rampage was again driven off for four minutes when Malatesta accidentally hit an opponent in the face.
But it was rather Quebec who took advantage as Gaudet pounced on a poor throwback given by Ernst after a Robidas shot.
“We felt that they would come back from behind. Justin took a good shot and when I saw her come in I was super happy. All the guys on the bench congratulated me. It relieved us,” said Gaudet, who has now scored three goals and an assist in his last two games.
Too many penalties
The downside for the Remparts: they offered seven power play advantages to the Blazers, including two double-majors for high sticks.
“One thing’s for sure, we’re going to have to get out of the penalty box. You can’t give up seven power plays every night. We’ve got to be better at controlling our sticks. Despite all that, I found that we did good on the penalty kill,” added Roy, pointing to the important save by William Rousseau at third when his team was playing shorthanded and the score was 5 on 3.
Remparts had stressed the importance of countering defender Olen Zellweger in the days leading up to the match. One thing is for sure, with seven power plays, the Blazers defenseman was overused by coach Shaun Clouston, but finished the game with a -3 differential and an assist.
“We played very well against him. He is a striker and he is very active offensively. It goes down very low and at one point there were four of them down. It is a great project, he has a great talent, but I have to admit that defensively we did an excellent job against him.
Malatesta throws flowers to Robidas
With three goals in the victory, James Malatesta was named player of the match. Since the start of the playoffs, he has scored 17 goals in 19 games.
“It’s not difficult when I have a guy like Robidas passing me the same way,” he said. We play well together. »
No. 93 from the Remparts was indeed effective again on Friday night, being complicit in Malatesta’s three goals in addition to being used in all facets of the game by Patrick Roy.
“His center plays great hockey,” Roy also noted when called to comment on Malatesta’s work. He does a really good job both offensively and defensively. James is playing with confidence at the moment, but tonight our four lines played a strong game. »
The Remparts will enjoy two days off before their next game scheduled for Monday against the Seattle Thunderbirds.