It’s probably the hardest game to play in besides the final of course, the opening game to the Memorial Cup. The players must stand on the ice while the opening ceremonies continue on, the nerves are a little on edge to get things under way and in the case of Moncton on a May Long weekend, a large, noisy, hot and sweaty crowd adds to a swampy feeling that makes you just want to get on with it.
And so once the how do you do’s and thank you’s were done, the Quebec Remparts and the Peterborough Petes got down to the business of trying to earn a berth in next Sunday’s final game.
It was a hard hitting see saw battle for most of the game, as both teams battled back and forth for the lead and to control the momentum of as the game moved along. Peterborough found success and the eventual 3-2 verdict on opening night, and now can relax until Monday night’s match up with the host Wildcats, they can be assured that the warm reception they received tonight won’t be replayed when Ted Nolan’s squad takes to the Moncton ice on Monday night.
The Remparts next play the Vancouver Giants on Sunday, back to back games for the Giants who face the Wildcats on Saturday night. Quebec needs a win to try and stay in the hunt for one of the final three positions, either a bye into the final or a spot in Friday night’s semi final. It’s the kind of tournament where if you lose a couple in a row it’s all but over for you in the short seven days of the round robin phase.
One game into the tournament and the Petes find themselves in a good position able to breath a bit while they await their next competitor, while there is now a bit of desperation to be seen in the Remparts game on Sunday.