Halifax, N.S. – Veteran forward Samuel Asselin scored once and added an assist as the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads claimed a 4-1 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders in Game 1 of the 2019 Memorial Cup Presented by Kia on Friday evening.
Asselin, a 20-year-old product of L’Assomption, Que., opened the scoring in the first period, taking a feed from below the goal line courtesy 2019 NHL Draft prospect Raphael Lavoie before beating Raiders netminder Ian Scott to make it a 1-0 game. The 5-foot-10 Asselin then factored into the second goal of the game for Halifax, setting up Xavier Parent to make it a 2-0 game with 1:16 to go in the first period.
After falling behind 2-0 through 20 minutes of play, the Raiders got on the board courtesy a redirection from San Jose Sharks prospect Noah Gregor. Midway through the period, the 20-year-old product of Beaumont, Alta. parked himself in front of Alexis Gravel, tipping a point shot from defenceman Max Martin past the blocker of the Mooseheads goaltender to make it a 2-1 game.
The Mooseheads managed to respond before the middle period came to a close as Jake Ryczek registered his first of the tournament to restore the two-goal advantage for the hosts. Ryczek’s goal came on a power play with 4:08 to go.
Special teams factored into the outcome as the Mooseheads went 1-for-6 on the man advantage, while the Raiders were unable to convert on any of their four power-play opportunities.
Mooseheads captain Antoine Morand added an empty-net goal to seal the win for Halifax.
Dante Hannoun, the Raiders’ overtime hero from Game 7 of the 2019 Rogers WHL Championship Series, fired a team-high seven shots in at Gravel, but was unable to find the back of the net.
Scott, the Toronto Maple Leafs prospect, made 33 saves in defeat. At the other end, Gravel turned aside 23 pucks to help the Mooseheads register a win on opening night.
Maxim Trepanier finished with three assists for the Mooseheads.
The Raiders will rest Saturday and Sunday before returning to game action on Monday, May 20 (5 p.m. MT/8 p.m. AT) when they take on the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. The Mooseheads get back in front of their home crowd on Sunday, May 19 (5 p.m. MT/8 p.m. AT) when they face the OHL’s Guelph Storm.
For complete information on the 2019 Memorial Cup, please visit chlmemorialcup.ca.