Gravel, Ryczek fall in Memorial Cup Final as Huskies top Mooseheads

  

On Sunday night, the Halifax Mooseheads took on the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the 2019 Memorial Cup Final in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In the rematch from the QMJHL Finals, the Huskies again overcame the Mooseheads 4–2, winning their first Memorial Cup title. Chicago Blackhawks prospects Alexis Gravel and Jake Ryczek of the Mooseheads fell short of helping the organization win their second-ever Memorial Cup title.

Gravel, Ryczek and Mooseheads fall to Huskies in Memorial Cup Final

In a familiar finale, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies again got the better of the Halifax Mooseheads with a championship on the line. As the host city for the 2019 Memorial Cup, Halifax rode the home-ice advantage through the round-robin portion to a 2–1–0 record and a tiebreaker advantage to advance directly to the Memorial Cup Final.

After coming up on the wrong end of the tie-breaker, the Huskies had to get through the OHL champion Guelph Storm in the semifinal to get to the Memorial Cup Final. After dispatching the Storm, the Huskies advanced to face the Mooseheads in a rematch of the QMJHL Finals, where the Huskies came out on top with a 4–2 series win.

Alexis Gravel

Halifax Mooseheads goaltender Alexis Gravel. (Photograph courtesy of Vincent Ethier/CHL Images)

In the Memorial Cup Final, the Mooseheads jumped out to a 2–0 lead just over five minutes into the second period after goals from Samuel Asselin in the first period and Raphael Lavoie in the second. Chicago Blackhawks prospect Jake Ryczek tallied a primary assist on the game’s opening goal for his second point of the tournament. Midway through the middle frame, the Huskies broke through and tallied two goals of their own to tie the game heading into the third period at 2–2.

Jake Ryczek

Halifax Mooseheads defenseman Jake Ryczek skates on to the ice. (Photograph courtesy of the Halifax Mooseheads)

In the third period, the Huskies scored two goals two minutes apart to take a 4–2 lead with just under 15 minutes to play in regulation. Rouyn-Noranda refused to take their foot off the gas with a two-goal cushion, continuing to pressure the Mooseheads and out-shooting the host city 11–9 in the third period and 25–15 between the second and third periods combined. Halifax pulled Gravel with just over three minutes to play but could not find any late-game magic.

The Huskies triumphed for the first time since the creation of the team in 1996 in their second-ever trip to the Memorial Cup. For Halifax, they remain a one-time Memorial Cup champion (2013) in three trips to the tournament. Ryczek finished the tournament with a goal and an assist in four games played, while Gravel finished with a 2–2–0 record, a 2.78 goals against average and a .918 save percentage in the tournament.

Both remain unsigned by the Blackhawks, but have time still under their draft rights to work out contracts within the organization. At 21 years old, Ryczek is eligible to play professionally at any time, but Gravel, who just turned 19 years old in March, will play at least one more season in the QMJHL before considering to move onto the professional ranks.