Host Halifax looks strong in winning opener over Prince Albert
Samuel Asselin know what it takes to win a Memorial Cup.
The 20-year-old Asselin, who gained the Canadian Hockey League’s largest prize final season with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, had a objective and an help because the Halifax Mooseheads beat the Prince Albert Raiders 4-1 on Friday in the 2019 Memorial Cup opener.
“We had a pair nice conferences with the boys that had been there earlier than too and we talked in regards to the significance of the primary recreation,” stated Asselin.
“It is big. The primary win, get the monkey off your again and I feel that is what we did.”
Asselin, from L’Assomption, Que., tied for the match lead final 12 months with 5 targets in 4 video games and went on to be No. 1 in the Quebec Main Junior Hockey League with 48 targets in the 2018-19 common season, potting 9 extra in the playoffs.
He is made a significant influence for Halifax this season after being acquired in a September commerce though his earlier profession excessive for targets was 17.
“I used to be informed he can be among the finest third-line centres in the league,” stated Mooseheads head coach Eric Veilleux. “However I performed him on the second energy play and after Christmas I had no selection however to maneuver him to the primary. A giant addition for our group.”
WATCH | Halifax opens Memorial Cup with win over Prince Albert:
Asselin, who went undrafted and remains to be searching for an NHL group to take discover, has been enjoying with extra assurance in himself for the reason that final Memorial Cup.
“I feel it is the arrogance,” stated Asselin. “I had my probabilities yearly I simply did not put the puck in. This 12 months every little thing I touched went in.”
Alexis Gravel did his half for Halifax with 23 saves. Xavier Guardian, Jake Ryczek and Antoine Morand additionally scored for the host Mooseheads whereas Maxim Trepanier chipped in with three assists.
Noah Gregor discovered the again of the web for the Western Hockey League champion Raiders. Ian Scott stopped 33-of-36 photographs for a squad that faltered in the highlight.
“I assumed we have been watching firstly,” stated Prince Albert coach Marc Habscheid. “Simply actual nervous I suppose.
“We come from a small city, small constructing, the intense lights form of hit us and that is on me. I’ve to organize them higher.”
A professional-Mooseheads crowd of 9,926 at Scotiabank Centre was chanting “We would like the Cup” earlier than the puck even dropped, and Halifax gave them much more cause to cheer by going forward 2-0 in the primary interval.
Raphael Lavoie took the puck beneath the goal-line and bought a pleasant decide from the official on a Raiders defenceman earlier than centring a go out entrance to Asselin, who one-timed it previous Scott from in shut at 10:49.
Asselin fooled Scott with a faux shot and go to Guardian, who had a wide-open internet to place the puck into at 18:44.
The Mooseheads did not let as much as begin the second and have been outshooting Prince Albert 10-1 midway by the body just for Scott to make a pair well timed saves.
Scott’s efforts paid off when Gregor, from the highest of the crease, tipped a Max Martin level shot previous Gravel at 10:46 to make it 2-1 Halifax.
The Raiders took 4 straight minor penalties in the second and it got here again to hang-out them on the fourth.
Ryczek restored the two-goal lead for the Mooseheads whereas on the person benefit with 4:08 to play in the second, blasting a one-timer previous Scott from the highest of the face-off circle on a cross-ice feed from Trepanier.
Scott was pulled with 2:25 to go just for Morand so as to add an empty netter.
After going the gap final season, Asselin ended up enjoying 69 regular-season video games this 12 months in a 68-game schedule due to the timing of his commerce. It has been a variety of hockey in a brief time frame however all price it.
“I had a protracted season final 12 months and this 12 months one other lengthy season,” stated Asselin. “To have an opportunity to win once more is de facto particular.”
Spherical-robin play on the nationwide main junior hockey championship continues Saturday with the Ontario Hockey League champion Guelph Storm in opposition to the QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, who beat the Mooseheads for the President’s Cup solely on Saturday.
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