HALIFAX – The Halifax Mooseheads will face a familiar foe in Sunday's Memorial Cup final.
The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies downed the Guelph Storm 6-4 in Friday's semifinal to earn the right to meet the Mooseheads in the championship final.
The game was tied 3-3 heading into the third period, but two goals by Felix Bibeau put the Huskies in front 5-3 with 7:27 left in regulation.
Guelph's Isaac Ratcliffe, with the goalie pulled, made it 5-4 with 1:13 left and the Storm had several good chances to tie it up, but couldn't put another one past Samuel Harvey in the Rouyn-Noranda net.
Rafael Harvey-Pinard iced it with an empty net goal.
Huskies coach Mario Pouliot said his team played its best game of the tournament.
"We found our rhythm," Pouliot said.
"I'm really happy with the win, but most importantly with the way we played the full 60 minutes.
"We were pressing their defence really hard and even good players, it's tough to make plays under pressure."
Cole Harbour native Tyler Hinam was asked what he expects the championship game to be like,
"Loud," he said with a laugh.
"We''re excited to get the rematch,"Hinam said. "We know we didn't play well against them the first time (a 4-3 loss to Rouyn-Noranda in the round robin) and we're excited to prove ourselves, the way we know we can play. I think we did that tonight. We had a good game and we played a full 60.
"It won't take much to get up for this one. It's going to be an exciting game."
For Guelph the loss ended a remarkable playoff run that saw them rally from a 3-0 series deficit and twice rally from 2-0 series deficits.
"It sucks. A lot," said Storm defenceman Jack Hanley.
"But I couldn't be more proud of this group. We came together when nobody thought we could. We heard we were going to be beat out by Kitchener in the first round and we're sitting here in May now.
"We're OHL champions and third in the country isn't too bad when you look back on it," Hanley said.
Hanley said some loose defensive zone coverage played a role in the loss.
"They were the better team tonight. It kind of sucks the way it had to end, but I'm very proud of everybody," said Dom Commisso. "It sucks the way it ended, but it is what it is."
"We had our chances," said captain Isaac Ratcliffe.
"We battled so hard tonight, those last 10 minutes we were all over them but unfortunately we couldn't pot one earlier."
Storm coach George Burnett said the last nine weeks have been "quite a ride," with more ups than downs.
"I didn't think we were at our best tonight. Give them credit. Behind our blue line I thought they were a little stronger than we were."
Burnett said the team felt good going into the third period, given that they were tied heading into the third period despite not playing that well in the first 40 minutes.
"A couple of breakdowns and they made us pay and we had to fight back at the end," Burnett said.