HALIFAX—Raphael Lavoie scored a highlight-reel goal that put his team ahead for good as the Halifax Mooseheads beat the Guelph Storm 4-2 on Sunday at the Memorial Cup.
The 18-year-old draft-eligible forward made a strong solo effort for the Mooseheads’ second goal of the game, as he headed down the ice 1-on-2 while short-handed and split the Storm defence with a toe drag before beating goalie Anthony Popovich 6:48 into the second period.
Halifax, the only undefeated team remaining at the four-team tournament, has won back-to-back games to open competition and is guaranteed to advance to at least the semifinal regardless of the outcome of its last round-robin game against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.
Antoine Morand, Maxim Trépanier, Samuel Asselin also scored for the host Mooseheads while Alexis Gravel stopped 33 shots for the win.
Sean Durzi had both goals for the Ontario Hockey League champion Storm.
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Popovich made 38 saves in defeat.
Guelph forward Liam Hawel had the game’s first true scoring opportunity while on an early power play but was turned away by Gravel with the glove hand.
That save turned out to be big when less than three minutes later Morand opened the scoring, deflecting a pass from Jocktan Chainey over the blocker of Popovich at 5:10 of the first.
The Storm didn’t get rattled, however, and maintained much of the play through the opening period before finally solving Gravel in the final minute.
Durzi let go of a bomb from the point that went through a crowd and over Gravel’s blocker at 19:10 to send the two squads into first intermission tied 1-1, with the shots favouring Guelph 16-8.
Guelph went on its fourth power play of the game at 5:03 of the second, but it was the Mooseheads that took advantage to regain the lead as they came out looking much different than the first 20 minutes.
Shortly after Joel Bishop blocked a point shot that left him crawling to the bench in agony, Lavoie would strike with 15 seconds still remaining on Guelph’s man advantage.
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Trepanier extended the lead to 3-1 less than four minutes later when he banged home a loose puck sitting behind Popovich in the crease on a play that began with a Guelph turnover behind its own net.
The Storm took three straight minor penalties after falling behind two goals and gave Halifax 1:22 of 5-on-3 time that led to Popovich having to bail his teammates out more than once.
Halifax was outshooting Guelph 17-5 up to that point in the second and was ahead in shots 28-25 entering the third.
Guelph finally made good on its fifth power play when Durzi struck for the second time just 1:07 into the third to make it a one-goal game, but Asselin responded six minutes later on his own rebound to send the pro-Mooseheads crowd into a frenzy.
Halifax opened the tournament with a 4-1 win over the Western league champion Prince Albert Raiders while Guelph beat the Quebec league champion Huskies 5-2 to open its tournament.