It wasn’t the finish the Herd had hoped for.
The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies once again got the better of the Halifax Mooseheads, winning 4-2 in Sunday’s Memorial Cup final at the Scotiabank Centre.
The Huskies also topped the Mooseheads in the President’s Cup, winning in six games.
Tale of two halves
The game remained deadlocked for much of the first period, but a Huskies penalty in the offensive zone resulted in a late power play opportunity for the hometown team.
Sam Asselin capitalized, giving the Moose a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes. Raphael Lavoie then put the Herd up by two a few minutes into the second.
But it was downhill from there.
The Huskies’ Felix Bibeau and Joel Teasdale tied things up before the period ended. The Huskies came out flying in third, scoring two goals in the first six minutes to go, up 4-2.
Rouyn-Noranda was able to hold on for the rest of the game to win their first-ever Memorial Cup.
“This is one of the hardest trophies in hockey to win and we just won it,” said Huskies forward Tyler Hinam, who is originally from Cole Harbour, N.S.
“This is amazing.”
WATCH: 101st Memorial Cup takes over downtown Halifax
The Mooseheads automatically advanced to the Memorial Cup championship after coming out on top of a three-way with the Huskies and the Guelph Storm.
The Western Hockey League’s Prince Albert Raiders were relegated after losing all three of their round robin games.
The Huskies punched their ticket to Sunday’s finals with a 6-4 victory over the Storm Friday night.
Sunday’s game was the eighth time the Mooseheads and Huskies faced each other in May alone.
Halifax abuzz before puck drop
The rain didn’t stop hundreds of fans from flocking to Argyle Street to see Dartmouth singer-songwriter Joel Plaskett hit the stage for the final day of Street Fest.
The week-long celebration also saw performances from Matt Mays, Ria Mae, Classified, The Trews and more.
Tanya Colburne, Memorial Cup event manager, says even though it wasn’t the result they were looking for, the event went without a hitch.
“Everything was stellar. The response from the city, the arena was electric, Street Fest was phenomenal, fan zone was really well received, we just couldn’t have asked for better,” Colburne said.
“We were just blown away by the kindness and generosity, both in terms of time and effort from the people behind the scenes.”
Former Mooseheads captain and Cole Harbour native Nathan MacKinnon was in the fan zone prior to the game for a one-on-one interview. He also was on hand for the ceremonial puck drop, much to the delight of the Mooseheads faithful.
For MacKinnon, returning to the Scotiabank Centre was a special moment.
“I just walked in and I get goosebumps,” MacKinnon said. “I’ve had such amazing memories here.”
“It’s a big stage. Obviously in the NHL it only gets bigger, but this is similar. Everybody’s watching us at home, every hockey fan is watching this, and I remember it felt like a massive event.”
Despite the loss, many Mooseheads fans stayed after the game for a final sendoff from the team they’ve grown to love.
“Obviously, not the result we wanted. Obviously, we want our hometown Mooseheads to win, but the hockey’s been excellent,” said one fan who attended every game of the tournament. “It’s been really good, fast-paced hockey.”
“It was tough. All year it’s been tough up against (Rouyn-Noranda), it’s been back and forth,” said another season ticket holder.
“Sadly, we just didn’t get the win.”
With files from Jesse Thomas.