2023 Memorial Cup: 3 Takeaways From Petes’ Win Over Remparts

Facing elimination, the Peterborough Petes kept their Memorial Cup dreams alive with a 4-2 victory over the Québec Remparts. While Québec was already guaranteed a spot in the Final regardless of the outcome, the win means Peterborough will play a tie-breaker as part of the single elimination tournament with a berth in the semi-final on the line. Here are three takeaways from the game.

Peterborough Bounces Back

After suffering a 10-2 defeat to the Kamloops Blazers the day before, the Petes looked ready from puck drop as they fought to keep their season alive. They outshot Québec 36-28 and played a clean game giving up zero power plays in the victory. Overall, they did a great job not just capitalizing on their chances but limiting the Remparts’ opportunities, showing just how strong a team they are when at their best.

Michael Simpson Peterborough Petes
Michael Simpson, Peterborough Petes (Candice Ward/CHL)

While the win is important, the most important part of last night’s game was goaltender Michael Simpson getting his confidence back. While he had a decent game against the Seattle Thunderbirds, stopping 34 of the 39 shots he faced, his performance against the Blazers was one to forget as he was pulled in the second after allowing five goals on the first 20 shots he faced. While the Petes have a strong offensive group, he has been their best player all postseason, which is why he was named the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Playoff MVP. If Peterborough wants to advance past the tie-breaker, they will need him to have another performance as he did against the Remparts, stopping 26 shots, including 14 straight in the third period.

Petes’ Top Forwards Step Up

As they have throughout the season, Peterbourough’s top forwards stepped up when they needed them most. Seattle Kraken’s Tucker Robertson led the way scoring his first of the Memorial Cup and assisting on the game-winner, while Vancouver Canucks’ Connor Lockhart scored the insurance goal early in the third to put the Petes up 4-2. Philadelphia Flyers’ J.R. Avon also found the back of the net for his second, while Avery Hayes chipped in his third of the Memorial Cup, which would go on to be the game-winner. These four delivered big goals throughout the postseason for Peterborough and stepped up once again in what was arguably the biggest game of the season.

Related: 2023 Memorial Cup: 3 Takeaways From Québec’s Win Over Seattle

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While Robertson won Player of the Game, it could have easily gone to New York Rangers’ forward Brennan Othmann. He finished the game with an assist, a team-high five shots on goal, and was tied for the team lead with a plus/minus of plus-2. What was more impressive is that he did this while getting booed by fans in the stands as he was involved in an unfortunate play during the game versus Kamloops, which saw defenceman Kyle Masters stretchered off the ice. His performance in this game is exactly why the Petes gave up multiple assets to get him near the trade deadline. He was the team leader in points during the playoffs and will need to be a leader for this offence during the tie-breaker game on June 1.

Québec Uses Game to Prepare for Final

While the goal of every team is to win, it looked as though Québec was using this game as an opportunity to get some depth players more ice time and work on their overall game in preparation for the Final. They were once again strong on the penalty kill, shutting down all three of Peterbourgh’s opportunities on the power play while holding the Petes to under ten shots in two of the three periods. They even had the chance to give their backup goalkeeper, Quentin Miller, some playing time as the 2023 NHL Draft prospect stopped all seven shots he faced in 13:47 of ice time. While going perfect in the tournament is a great accomplishment, ensuring the entire team is healthy and ready for the Final is arguably more important.

If there is one concerning factor going into the Final, it is the Remparts’ ability to win faceoffs. Against Seattle, they won 24 of the 64 faceoffs during the game, while in their match against the Petes, they once again found themselves below 50%, winning 25 of the 59 draws. While winning faceoffs is not the be-all-end-all for a team, it does play an important factor in the game, especially in the defensive zone.

One Final Round Robin to Go

As mentioned, the Petes will now play in a tie-breaker to determine who makes it through to the semi-final. They will play the loser of Seattle vs Kamloops, with the winner of the all-Western Hockey League (WHL) matchup heading straight to the semi-final. With the round-robin coming to a close, expect the temperature to rise as these teams continue to fight for the chance to be called 2023 Memorial Cup champions.

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