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Huskies beat Mooseheads 4-0 to win QMJHL championship

Rouyn-Noranda Huskies goalie Samuel Harvey and Halifax Mooseheads forward Arnaud Durandeau look for the puck during Saturday's QMJHL playoff game at the Scotiabank Centre.
Rouyn-Noranda Huskies goalie Samuel Harvey and Halifax Mooseheads forward Arnaud Durandeau look for the puck during Saturday's QMJHL playoff game at the Scotiabank Centre. - Ryan Taplin

The championship run came to an abrupt end for the Halifax Mooseheads on Saturday.
The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies beat them 4-0 at the Scotiabank Centre to wrap up this year's QMJHL best-of-seven final 4-2. This is the Huskies' second President Cup in four years.
"This is incredible," said Rouyn-Noranda defenceman Noah Dobson. "This team has been first in the standings since almost October so that's a pretty amazing run. It's just an unbelievable group of guys, coaching staff and city. It really feels good to win a championship together."
Even though both teams had already secured a berth in the Memorial Cup before the best-of-seven even started, you wouldn't know it by the intensity in every game. They went at each hard all series and it wasn't until Game 5 that the Huskies pulled away. They took a 3-2 series lead on home ice on Thursday and then kept their push on in Game 6 to avoid the unpredictability of a Game 7.
"It was back and forth the whole time," Dobson said. "Until today no team had won back-to-back games. We knew coming in here we needed to play a full 60 and we played our best game of the whole playoffs.
"We didn't want to go back (to Rouyn-Noranda) for Game 7. If they had won Game 6, they would've had the momentum so we definitely wanted to win it tonight and we're glad we did."
The Mooseheads obviously took the loss hard but didn't leave the rink feeling like they left anything on the table. The Huskies set a QMJHL record for most regular season wins with 59 and went 12-2 in the three rounds leading up to the final so beating them was a difficult task. The Mooseheads pushed them in every game and even carried the play for their share of stretches.
"I think we battled all series long and all season long," said Halifax captain Antoine Morand. "It's a tough moment right now but I'm proud of this team.
"It's a game of inches and of bounces - a couple could've gone their way and a couple could've gone our way. It's hard. I know everybody in our room gave it their max so to have an outcome like this sucks. But you've got to give them credit, they played hard and they played structured."
Nova Scotian Tyler Hinam scored the critical first goal 13:32 into the game and Rafael Harvey-Pinard made it 2-0 with the only scoring play of the second period. The Mooseheads thought they had cut the lead to 2-1 6:32 into the third period when BO Groulx blasted home a one-timer but the goal was waved off because of an offside. 
After the deflating reversal, the Huskies stretched their lead to 3-0 on a goal from Alex Beaucage with just 6:39 left in the third period and Harvey-Pinard added a late empty-netter to seal it.
"It was obviously super exciting (to score) and I'm just speechless right now," said Cole Harbour's Hinam. "I came here as a kid and watched a lot of games so to win it here in Halifax in front of my friends and family is awesome."
Alexis Gravel stopped 31 shots for Halifax and Samuel Harvey recorded a 28-save shutout for Rouyn-Noranda. Gravel set a new franchise record with a .917 save percentage during the playoffs.
"The boys have been fantastic for me," Gravel said. "They really sacrificed their bodies. We played super well defensively. I couldn't ask for better defencemen and for the forwards blocking shots."
Both teams gave what they had in the sixth game but it seemed like fatigue was setting in at times. This was a long, physical series that included a double overtime game.
"Of course we were starting to get tired," Hinam said. "We just played 20 playoff games in a month-and-a-half so if you're not tired you're probably doing something wrong. The next five, six days will be huge for us. We'll make sure we'll be back here rested and ready to go."
As silver linings go, a ticket to the Memorial Cup is as good as it gets for the host Mooseheads. 
"It's obviously tough right now," said Halifax forward Joel Bishop. "You're in the final in Game 6 and you want to keep playing but we just came up a bit short. We've got the Memorial Cup coming up now and we get another kick at the can so we'll be ready for that."
Likewise, the Huskies had no intention of going through the motions in the final just because they already had their berth in the Memorial Cup locked down.
"Nobody wanted to take the back door," Hinam said. "When we came to camp in August, our goal was to win the President Cup. We finished our goal and now we're playing for a bonus."
Dobson was named the playoff MVP after totalling 29 points in 20 games from the blue line.
"It's an individual award but honestly without the guys on the team I wouldn't have won it," Dobson said. "My D partner and our goalie were awesome and we have so many great forwards. I just get the puck to them and they do the work. It was a team award in my mind."
The first game of the Memorial Cup is on Friday when the Mooseheads host the WHL champions. The Huskies play their first game of the tournament the following night against the OHL representative.
The Prince Albert Raiders lead the Vancouver Giants 3-2 in the WHL final and the Guelph Storm are up 3-2 on the Ottawa 67's in the OHL championship.
"We have a second opportunity and now we have six days to prepare ourselves," Morand said. "We'll use that (time) to pick ourselves back up and do the work to get ready."

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