EP Rinkside's 3 Stars from Day 1 of the 2023 Memorial Cup
The 103rd Memorial Cup kicked off on Friday with the Québec Remparts taking on the host Kamloops Blazers.
The Blazers have been waiting around for three weeks since losing the WHL Western Conference Final to the Seattle Thunderbirds. However, despite that lengthy break, the team looked anything but rusty as they burst out to control the first 10 minutes of the game, firing seven shots on goal before the Remparts had their first.
Of course, that first shot went in the goal as Justin Robidas (CAR) stole the puck at the defensive blue line and drove down on a partial breakaway before sliding it over to QMJHL Playoff MVP James Malatesta (CBJ) for the finish.
Kamloops evened things up later in the frame on the man-advantage as Caedan Bankier (MIN) wired it home far side.
The second period belonged to Québec as Kamloops netminder Dylan Ernst was unable to make a timely save and the Remparts scored four unanswered before Daylan Kuefler (NYI) blasted a downhill one-timer to cut the lead to 5-2 before the end of the middle frame.
The third period had barely begun before Kamloops landed a four-minute power play and Matthew Seminoff (DAL) struck on a high tip to cut the lead to 5-3. Another double minor quickly followed, but this time it was the Remparts capitalizing shorthanded as Robidas raced down the ice, fired a shot and the rebound was banged home by Kassim Gaudet for his second of the game.
The transition game was too daunting for the Blazers to handle in this one as the Remparts cruised to an 8-3 finish and are now boasting a record of 40-6-0 in their last 46 outings. Their team speed, tenacious defensive game, and opportunistic scoring were more than enough to overcome the zone-time advantage that the Blazers held.
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