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Summerside’s Noah Dobson is going back to the President Cup final.
The 19-year-old defenceman and his top-ranked Rouyn-Noranda Huskies completed a four-game sweep of the Rimouski Oceanic with a 6-3 win Wednesday in Rimouski, Que.
The Huskies will await the outcome of the other semifinal to determine who they will face in the best-of-seven Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship series. Halifax holds a 3-1 series lead over Drummondville and can move on to the final with a win tonight.
If Halifax wins the semifinal, the Huskies would automatically advance to the Memorial Cup as Halifax is guaranteed a spot as the host team for the May 17-26 Canadian Hockey League championship.
“Our main goal right now is to focus on Game 1 of the final,” Dobson said Thursday afternoon from Rimouski.
“No matter who we’re playing, we want to win the cup, and we definitely want to try to earn our way to the Memorial Cup.”
The New York Islanders first-round pick from 2018 was part of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan squad that won both the President Cup and Memorial Cup a year ago. Rouyn-Noranda acquired him in a blockbuster trade in January after he played for Canada at the world junior championship in British Columbia.
The Huskies were the top team heading into the trade period and added Dobson and Joel Teasdale, a veteran forward with loads of playoff experience with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.
“We knew going into the playoffs we had an opportunity where we could go on a deep run,” Dobson said.
But the Huskies didn't get off to the start many expected.
The Shawinigan Cataractes, the 16th seed in the playoffs, took the Huskies to six games in the first round. The series was tied 2-2 before the Huskies took over. They have since rolled off 10 straight victories against Shawinigan, Victoriaville and Rimouski.
Dobson said it was similar to a year ago when Chicoutimi took the Titan to six games in the first round before Acadie-Bathurst swept Sherbrooke and Victoriaville to reach the final.
“We had a little bit of adversity in the first round, playing that lower seed. They played us hard,” Dobson said. “I think we were able to learn a lot from that series.”
Dobson said he knew a couple of the Oceanic, including Alexis Lafreniere, Colton Ellis and Summerside native Carson MacKinnon.
“It was cool playing Carson, obviously my neighbour growing up and one of my best friends,” he said. “He played great all series.”
MacKinnon, 19, scored his third goal of the playoffs on Wednesday.
The Huskies have dealt with some injuries during the post-season.
Forward Peter Abbandonato led the league in scoring during the regular season with 111 points in 68 games in his final year of junior. He missed the entire semifinal with mononucleosis and is expected to miss at least some of the final.
“It’s definitely a little extra motivation for us,” Dobson said. “We want to try and win as many games and give him that opportunity to play in a Memorial Cup again.”
Dobson was a first-round pick of the NHL's New York Islanders in 2018. He has been keeping an eye on their season, including a first-round sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins. They play the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round.
“They’re on a pretty special run right now,” he said. “They’re definitely a fun team to watch and I think it’s cool being a prospect there. . . A goal of mine is to be wearing that jersey next year.”
By the numbers
A look at Noah Dobson’s playoff statistics in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League:
Season GP G A Pts.
2017 11 0 5 5
2018 20 3 10 13
2019 14 6 14 20