Quebec outlasts Halifax to claim 2023 Gilles-Courteau Trophy
Pier-Olivier Roy’s goal with 59 seconds remaining in regulation delivered the Quebec Remparts their first league title in 47 years. The overager finished off a two-on-one break to complete a frantic third period that saw the Remparts come from behind to take down the Halifax Mooseheads 5-4 in Game 6 of the 2023 Gilles-Courteau Trophy Final.
Evan Nause, James Malatesta, Zachary Bolduc and Kassim Gaudet also found the back of the net for the Remparts, who overcame a 2-0 second period deficit to maintain a perfect road record in the 2023 postseason. Team Captain Theo Rochette chipped in with a pair of assists.
Jack Martin, Alexandre Doucet, Josh Lawrence and Zachary L’Heureux scored for Halifax, who also received a solid three-assist effort from Jordan Dumais. Goaltender William Rousseau made 21 stops to earn his 16th win for the Remparts, while Mathis Rousseau turned aside 31 shots for the Mooseheads, his fourth straight game with 30 saves or more.
James Malatesta was named the recipient of the 2023 Guy-Lafleur Trophy as QMJHL Playoff MVP. The Columbus Blue Jackets draftee completed the postseason with 14 goals, including five game-winners, and 20 points in 18 games.
After a scoreless first period in which the Remparts held an 11-7 shots advantage, both teams found their offensive stride with Halifax earning a 3-2 edge after 40 minutes. The Moose broke through first at the 2:18 mark of the second when Markus Vidicek hit Martin with a cross-ice feed that the rookie one-timed home for his first QMJHL playoff tally. The home side would double down at 5:38, when Doucet accepted a stretch pass from Dumais before busting down the wing and unleashing a wrister for his 14th of the postseason.
The Remparts would cut the deficit in half at 11:14 when Nause’s wrist shot from the blue line found its way through a screen and past Mathis Rousseau. It was the Florida Panthers draftee’s fifth goal of the playoffs. Lawrence would restore the two-goal advantage for Halifax just over four minutes later, finishing off a perfect three-way passing play with Dumais and Doucet for his 12th playoff tally. Malatesta would make it a one-goal game once more by walking into the slot and burying a wrist shot during a Remparts power play at 16:44. Shots on goal in the second frame favored Halifax by an 11-10 margin.
The Remparts knotted things up at 3-3 just 5:18 into the third frame when Bolduc muscled his way into the blue paint and slipped a backhander through Rousseau’s five-hole for his 11th of the playoffs. This set the stage for a dramatic latter portion of the third.
First, L’Heureux put the Mooseheads on top with 3:13 remaining with a wraparound tally. Then, Quebec put things back to level when Gaudet launched a laser beam of a wrist shot for his fifth of the playoffs just 65 seconds later. Finally, it took only 69 seconds following that equalizer for Roy to come through with the title clinching goal for Quebec.
The Remparts now move on to Kamloops, British Columbia and the 2023 Memorial Cup presented by Kia. They will face the host Blazers, WHL Champion Seattle Thunderbirds and the winner of the ongoing OHL Championship Series between the Peterborough Petes and London Knights. Tournament action gets underway between the Remparts and Blazers on May 26 at 9pm ET/10pm AT. Teams from the QMJHL have won the past three editions of the Memorial Cup tournament.