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Memorial Cup: Rouyn-Norana Huskies fend off late storm to beat the Brandon Wheat Kings 5-3

The Wheat Kings outshot the Huskies 20-4, and outscored them 2-0 in a solid third period by the team, but they just weren't able to squeeze out a win.

The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies celebrate a 5-3 win against the Brandon Wheat Kings in both teams first game of the 2016 Memorial Cup.
The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies celebrate a 5-3 win against the Brandon Wheat Kings in both teams first game of the 2016 Memorial Cup.
Rob Wallator/CHL Images

Early into the game, the Brandon Wheat Kings showed they were here to play.

Like the WHL's Red Deer Rebels did in their Friday night matchup with the London Knights, the WHL's Wheat Kings came out and showed their out of conference opponents what dub hockey is all about. 

Just 2:44 into the first period and after a mad scramble in front of the net, Wheat Kings RW Reid Duke capitalized on a loose puck to put his team up 1-0.

"We had a good first few minutes there," said goalscorer Reid Duke during his post-game availability. 

"It’s too bad we couldn’t sustain it."

From that point on, the game seemed to slowly slip away from the Wheat Kings, which is less than ideal when you are facing the No. 1 ranked team in the country.

At the 14:06 mark in the first, Rouyn-Noranda D Jeremy Lauzon went end-to-end, and sent a beautiful pass across the middle of the ice to an open Anthony-John Greer.

Greer made no mistake, and make a great move to score against Jordan Papirny.

The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies continued to pour it on the Wheat Kings as they scored two goals in the final 1:27 in the first.

The inability for the Wheat Kings to stay out of the box throughout the first two periods negated any chance they had at building momentum. Back-to-back penalties by Brandon in the second ended up costing them when Huskies D Philippe Myers scored a weird one while Jayce Hawryluk was serving a four-minute high sticking call.

"I thought our work ethic was better, I thought our support to the puck was better," said Wheat Kings Head Coach Kelly McCrimmon in his post-game availability talking about his team's valiant effort in the third period. "I think that was the big thing as simple as that sounds.

"I don't know what you can draw out of the third period necessarily, but I thought our guys pushed hard in the third."

In the third, the game completely changed in favour of the Wheat Kings and the Huskies were now the team finding themselves in penalty trouble.

After the Huskies F Greer found himself in the penalty box for roughing, the Wheat Kings were able to really turn the tide. Despite the fact that the Wheat Kings outshot the Huskies to the tune of 20-4 in the third, they were only able to draw the game to 5-3.

The goals came from Tyler Coulter who scored on a loose puck in front of the Husky net, and John Quenneville who scored what is one of the best goals in any hockey league this year.

"Ivan (Provorov) got the puck on a D-to-D hinge, and I knew I had a chance to get a puck up the middle with their D a little bit wide so I took off," said Quenneville in his post-game availability.  "I had a lot of space to work with in front of the goalie and he really backs up quick.

"I put it to my backhand, faked him out a bit and I threw it upstairs."

All-in-all, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies showed just why they were the CHL's top ranked team for the majority of the year.

Sunday night the Huskies take on the Rebels at 5:00 PM MT, while on Monday the Wheat Kings face off against the Knights at 6:00 PM MT. 

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I am credentialed and covering the 2016 Memorial Cup in Red Deer. You can follow me on twitter here for live updates from all this year's games.


My work at this year's Memorial Cup:
Knights surge past the Rebels 6-2 in the tournament's opening game - Beer League Heroes, May 21.
Conner Bleackley shines in first game in over two months - Copper and Blue, May 21.