Moncton's gain is OHL's loss

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 2:45 PM ET

MONCTON -- Matt Marquardt went to the Memorial Cup in London last year as a guest of the Knights, unsure of where he wanted to play hockey this season.

He is glad he decided to come to New Brunswick to play for Ted Nolan and the Moncton Wildcats.

Marquardt, a native of North Bay who skated for tier-II Brockville last season, scored the winning goal as the Wildcats beat the Vancouver Giants 3-1 last night to advance to the final against the Quebec Remparts.

Tomorrow will be the first time two Quebec Major Junior Hockey League clubs -- the Wildcats won the league title over Quebec -- will square off in the Cup final.

"It's a dream to be playing in the Memorial Cup," said Marquardt, 19, who turned down clubs such as the Knights and Sudbury Wolves to sign with Moncton. "I had a lot of options and tried to pick the team that was best for myself. I will remember this year for the rest of my life."

Marquardt has not been drafted and actually said no to an offer from the Ottawa Senators last fall after he attended their rookie camp. But he had just 25 points in 68 games for the Wildcats in the regular season.

Marquardt scored at 6:18 of the third after Brad Marchand fed him in the slot. Marquardt beat Dustin Slade to send the crowd of 7,160 at the Coliseum into delirium.

"I just closed my eyes and let it go," Marquardt said.

"I was pretty happy to be out there and put in a big goal."

The Wildcats will try to be the first team from Atlantic Canada to win the Memorial Cup while the Remparts are after their second Cup and first since 1971.

The Remparts earned a bye to the final after beating Moncton on Wednesday.

The game last night degenerated into mayhem when Giants captain Mark Fistric cross-checked Wildcats goalie Josh Tordjman in the upper body. Tordjman, who was not hurt, had been trying to help break up another fight.

"I did not want to hurt him," Fistric said. "I just wanted to send a message. They're a great team and I'm sure they are going to play well in the final. They deserve to win."


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