QMJHL: Heading to the final for the Drakkar, who eliminates the Eagles in 5 games

QMJHL: Heading to the final for the Drakkar, who eliminates the Eagles in 5 games
QMJHL: Heading to the final for the Drakkar, who eliminates the Eagles in 5 games

Defenseman Anthony Lavoie scored at 10:03 of overtime Thursday at the Henry-Leonard Center to give the Baie-Comeau Drakkar a 2-1 victory, which eliminated the Cape Breton Eagles and reached the grand final of the Maritimes Quebec Junior Hockey League.

The Baie-Comeau squad defeated the Eagles in five games.

The Drakkar thus qualifies for the third final in its history. However, the team never won the Gilles-Courteau trophy.

In the final, the Drakkar will face the winners between the Victoriaville Tigres and the Drummondville Voltigeurs. The Voltigeurs lead the series 3-1. Justin Poirier also found the back of the net in the victory. Justin Gill had two assists.

It is often said that the fourth victory in a best-of-seven series is the hardest to achieve. The head coach of the Drakkar, Jean-François Grégoire, said that his team’s performance on Thursday evening was no exception.

“It was very difficult,” said Grégoire. It was a struggle. We found a way. It was hard to have rhythm today, I felt a lot of nervousness. We saw it in the execution, but today it’s going to be correct and we’re going to take this victory. »

Eagles head coach Louis Robitaille thought his team perhaps deserved a better outcome.

“The line is extremely thin,” Robitaille said. We didn’t play with the fear of losing. We attacked and had our chances during the third period. I couldn’t be more proud of my group of players. »

Lucas Romeo scored the Eagles’ net. After a rather quiet start to the match, a few gestures of indiscipline came to liven up the duel.

Antoine Roy, of the Eagles, and Gill were sent off for roughing at 9:06 of play, while Poirier gave the opponent a power play 24 seconds later, for tripping.

Romeo found the bottom in the next minute to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.

“I think we played our most consistent game of the year,” said Eagles defender Tomas Lavoie. In the end, it was a shot that deflected and it hurt. It’s heartbreaking. »

The Drakkar still fired 16 shots at Ruccia’s net during the first period, despite trailing 1-0 after 20 minutes.

At 8:15 into the second period, Gill, who started the game with 23 points in the current series, received another penalty. The Eagles, however, were unable to take advantage.

The Drakkar, in turn playing with an extra player, did not miss his chance. Poirier scored his 17th goal of the series to tie the score with 4:30 remaining in the second period.

The Eagles led 28-25 in shots after 40 minutes.

Both teams tightened the game defensively during the final third. With less than six minutes left in regulation and a 1-1 tie, the opponents combined for only 12 shots in the period.

It took a tiebreaker to decide between the two teams and Lavoie played the hero. He beat Ruccia on the mitt side.

Ruccia finished the game with 39 saves, while Charles-Édward Gravel stopped 35 shots at the other end of the ice. The Drakkar goalie now has a 12-1 record since the start of the playoffs, with a goals-against average of 1.89 and an efficiency rate of .924.

Grégoire added that he was not relieved despite the presence in the final of the Drakkar, which finished first in the general classification this season.

“I’m happy,” said the head coach. It’s a privilege what we’re experiencing right now, to have the opportunity to go to the final. However, we are not going to be satisfied with that. The guys are on a mission. »



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