Phoenix comeback falls short against Victoriaville
Tigres best the Phoenix twice in home-and-home preseason series
The Sherbrooke Phoenix had two preseason games over the weekend as they prepare for the upcoming season. With the absences of five players participating in NHL training camps the Birds were beaten by the Tigres from Victoria in back-to-back games.
Evan Fitzpatrick was away with the St. Louis Blues giving Brenadn Cregan and Thommy Monette playing time in the tune up games. On defence, the Birds were missing their top pairing of Thomas Grégoire and Luke Green. Green is away with the Winnipeg Jets and Gregoire with the Colorado Avalance. At forward, Mathieu Olivier is in camp with the Stanley Cup Finalist Nashville Predators and Hugo Roy is also competing alongside Gregoire at the Avalanche’s camp.
In the first game, the Phoenix got ahead first on the road when Samuel Poulin scored on the power play at 14:01. However, the Tigres responded with the next four goals from Chase Harwell, Egor Kurbatov and two from Jérémy Côté to take a 4-1 lead into the third period. Despite Félix Robert scoring to cut the lead in half midway through the third, Victoriaville scored twice more to make the final score 6-2. Cregan made stops on 27 of 33 shots in the loss.
In the Palais des Sports on Sunday, the first twenty minutes gave both teams a chance to get on the board but neither the Birds or Tigres could capitalize. In the second period both teams found their scoring touch erupting for a total of seven goals.
The Birds held a 4-3 lead going into the third thanks to goals from Evan Mackinnon, Kevin Gilbert, Samuel Poulin and Yaroslav Alexeyev.
However, the Tigres had a big third period scoring three goals to take the lead before finishing off the game with a 6-5 win. Kurbatov struck on net to tie the game at 1:21 of the third. Then Benjamin Thibault and Félix Boivin got goals just 44 seconds apart at 13:16 and 14:00 to take a two-goal lead. Alexeyev scored at 18:48 to make a late push to tie the game but the Tigres ultimately held out for the win. Monette stopped 30 of 36 shots in the loss.
Overall the Phoenix’s new young core have been able to get some valuable playing time and have shown to be productive without five key players. Second overall pick Samuel Poulin has three goals and five assists for eight points in six preseason contests while eleventh overall selection Bailey Peach has 4 assists in seven preseason games. A nice surprise is the big uptick in offence coming from sophomore forward Evan Mackinnon who has scored four goals and added four assists for eight points in four preseason games.
The Phoenix close out the preseason with a road game against the Drummondville Voltigeurs September 15.
Evan Mackinnon scoring on Tigres goalie Anthony Morrone in preseason action Sunday at the Palais des Sports.