Victory comes at a cost for Olympiques
OLYMPIQUES 4, ARMADA 3 (OT)
The points keep coming for the Gatineau Olympiques, but so do the injuries.
A 4-3 comeback win over the Blainville-boisbriand Armada on Saturday night gave the Olympiques three out of a possible four points in two home games this weekend, but they also lost the services of 20-year old defenceman Alex Macdonald on Fri- day and may be without rookie Alex Soumakis following Saturday’s game.
Add captain Jean-gabriel Pageau, Rock Regimbald and Kyle Morrison to the injured list, and that’s a pretty good crop of players on the sidelines. The only good news is that a captain started and finished the game for the first time in the past three.
The official captain, Pageau, left last Tuesday’s game in Shawinigan with a broken finger. On Friday, Macdonald wore the captain’s C, but he too failed to finish the game, leaving in the first period with a knee injury. Christian Ouellet wore the C on Saturday and not only did he finish the game unscathed, he also picked up an assist on the winning goal in overtime by Mathieu Gagnon.
“I just joined the rush and I shot. I never saw a whole, I just shot, and that’s what you have to do,” Gagnon said of his heroics after Tomas Hyka was stopped on a rush before Gagnon found the loose puck and beat Etienne Marcoux two minutes into the fourth period. “I was pretty excited.”
As were the 3,155 fans in attendance who watched the Olympiques register just three shots in the first period while falling behind 3-1.
After a scoreless second, the Olympiques began their comeback just 53 seconds into the third when Soumakis scored his second of the game, and 10th in this his rookie season. He also scored 23 seconds into the game. He left late with a hand injury that will require X-rays.
Adam Chapman scored his first goal in the league late in the third to tie the game for the Olympiques (13-10-2), who began to take control of the game in the dying minutes of the second period.
Cedrick Paquette, Aaron Hoyles and Greely’s Dylan Anderson scored for the Armada (12-12-2) before the end of the first to give the visitors a comfortable lead they would not be able to hold.
“We had a difficult first period,” Olympiques coach and general manager Benoît Groulx said. “They came at us with a lot of energy. In the second, we started skat- ing and putting pressure on them. The last seven minutes of the second period we took the momentum and that goal early in the third gave us the confidence we needed to win this game.”
The Olympiques used three affiliated players as a result of all their injuries, but they, and the rest of the rookies, did a good job filling in.
“We have to learn to play our games without our top guys,” Groulx said. “It’s as simple as that. It’s a learning process.”
They’ll continue that process Thursday when they play host to Rimouski.