The Quebec Remparts have punched their ticket to the Memorial Cup final, upsetting the host Moncton Wildcats 4-3 on Wednesday night. In a hard hitting and fast paced game the two Quebec league rivals traded leads and occasional punches on the way to the Remparts victory.
With no shortage of bad blood between players, coaches and fans this one was set up to be one of the key games of the tournament, back when the schedule was drawn up and the two teams did not disappoint.
For Patrick Roy, the Remparts head coach there is a sense of destiny to the way his team has taken charge of the tournament the last couple of nights. Roy recounted for the media masses after the game that he had won a Stanley Cup in 86, a Stanley Cup in 96 and now feels that he may be on the verge of taking the Memorial Cup in 2006.
Of course there are a few other teams that might have something to say before they hand him the trophy and check the lotto tickets. Moncton will be looking to regain their planned participation in the final, to do so however, they will have to win the semi final match up on Friday night.
Before they know who their competition will be, there is a little matter of a tie breaker match between Peterborough and Vancouver, that game takes place Thursday at 4 pm (AST), 3 PM (EST) and Noon hour on the West coast. The Giants forced the need for the tie breaker match up with their victory over Peterborough on Tuesday night. Had they lost they would have probably been on a jet west to watch the rest of the competition on television, now they stand but one victory away from a showdown with Ted Nolan’s Wildcats on Friday night.
Most observers however must surely be giving the edge to Nolan’s team; losing to the Remparts Wednesday is going to be burned into the Cats memory for a long time if they don’t force a return match showdown for Sunday’s title game.
They’ll be watching the Petes and Giants do battle on Thursday and no doubt hoping for a hard physical and tiring game. The Cats can take advantage of the day’s rest, focus in on the task at hand and then take the play to whomever it is they face.
The Remparts are but one game away from claiming the Memorial Cup right in the backyard of their biggest rival this season. No wonder Roy is thinking of destiny, the Cats are hoping to interrupt his good karma with a return date on Sunday afternoon!