For a brief stretch in the opening period of Friday’s Memorial Cup semifinal, it looked like the Quebec Remparts would pick up right where they left off in their tiebreaker win a day earlier over the Rimouski Oceanic.
Adam Erne scored early to make it 1-0 for Quebec, and with the crowd on their side the Remparts looked to be on their way to the title game.
However, a lot can change in the course of 60 minutes. In between the fans throwing debris on the ice as they were upset about the reffing, the WHL champion Kelowna Rockets came out with a vengeance and ran the Remparts out of their own rink.
The 9-3 win for the Rockets was similar to their rout of the Rimouski Oceanic in the round-robin. Almost the entire team was finding the back of the net, with the big guns like Leon Draisatl, blueliners Josh Morrissey and non household names like Justin Kirkland all scoring.
For those watching the game, it was an impressive sight, and it might not be what the Oshawa Generals want to see in Sunday’s final. Now the Rockets have had two okay showings in the round-robin losses and were shut down by Oshawa with ease on Tuesday. But with a long layoff and a red-hot team to deal with, this might be too much to handle.
When it comes to the Remparts, the 2015/16 season will be very different. Not only will they be in a new rink, but Zach Fucale, Adam Erne and Anthony Duclair will all be moving on to the pro ranks. There’s a lot of holes to fill, but next year’s squad probably won’t be as strong as this one.
The one good thing though is that they have hopefully ended, for now at least, the narrative that the Memorial Cup host doesn’t deserve to be there. Sure Saskatoon and London weren’t that great in hindsight, but Quebec was a threat all year to win the title and could have won this tournament. Hopefully, the Red Deer Rebels will be just as good in 2016.