QMJHL: Alexis Gendron scored three goals in the first game of the final against the Drakkar

Alexis Gendron scored a hat trick and the Drummondville Voltigeurs defeated the Baie-Comeau Drakkar 5-0 on Thursday in the first game of the Gilles-Courteau Trophy final.

Riley Mercer signed his first playoff shutout in the Maritimes Quebec Junior Hockey League by making 43 saves. Luke Woodworth and Justin Côté were the other scorers for the Voltigeurs.

“We were opportunistic at times,” said Voltigeurs head coach Sylvain Favreau. It will be a hotly contested series on the ice. For us, it’s the victory that’s important, whether it’s 1-0 or 5-0. We want to go for victory. »

At the end of a duel at the top between the two best teams of the regular season, the Drakkar suffered only a second setback in 14 games since the start of the playoffs. Charles-Édward Gravel stopped 25 pucks.

“Our puck management was very difficult,” said Drakkar head coach Jean-François Grégoire. Our execution was not there. We lacked cohesion. »

The second game of this series will take place Friday in Baie-Comeau. She will then travel to Drummondville for the following two meetings, Monday and Tuesday.

The Drakkar is participating in the final for the third time in its history, but the first since 2014. It has never been crowned champion. The Voltigeurs are participating for the fifth time. The Centre-du-Québec club triumphed in 2009 before losing in the semi-final of the Memorial Cup.

This year, the Canadian Hockey League’s end-of-season tournament will take place in Saginaw, from May 24 to June 2.

Indiscipline sinks the Drakkar

Buoyed by the energy of the crowd, the Drakkar tried to start the match strong, but penalties quickly slowed them down in the first twenty.

A penalty awarded to Anthony Lavoie for a tackle just 1:49 into the game allowed the visitors to take flight.

Gendron opened the scoring seven seconds into the power play with a one-timer from the point. He scored his ninth goal of the series, taking advantage of the fact that Gravel had blurred vision.

“It is [un aréna] noisy, conceded Gendron. It’s something. There was a crab thrown on the ice during the national anthem, I’ve never seen that. There are trumpets. There’s a lot of noise, so we really wanted to break their legs when we left and we did.”

Drakkar captain Isaac Dufort then tripped Vsevolod Komarov at 10:24. This time, the Nord-Côtiers numerical inferiority units held on, but the Voltigeurs took advantage of the momentum to thread the needle 27 seconds after Dufort’s return to the ice.

Côté went to the corner of the ice before passing to Woodworth in the slot, and the latter did not miss his chance. He beat the goalkeeper to his right.

Côté also made it 3-0 himself at 4:28 of the second period. Well placed in front of the net, he pushed the puck behind Gravel following a play initiated by Woodworth. The latter collected his third point of the match on the sequence.

An unusual play gave the Voltigeurs a four-goal cushion. A Drakkar turnover in his own zone allowed Gendron to take a shot, but he missed the target over the net. The puck, however, ricocheted off the boards before bouncing off Gravel’s back to end up in the back of the net.

Gendron completed his hat trick by putting the finishing touches on a clever passing play at 2:02 of the third period.

The 21-year-old has scored five goals in his last two games.

“Things have been going well for me lately,” Gendron said. I had some great passes, credit to my teammates. I scored a lucky goal, but I’ll take it. »

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