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QMJHL Series: The Tigers bare their claws and save their skin against the Voltigeurs

QMJHL Series: The Tigers bare their claws and save their skin against the Voltigeurs

Benjamin Vigneault opened the scoring in overtime and the Victoriaville Tigres beat the Drummondville Voltigeurs 3-2 on Wednesday night.

Overtime was just 95 seconds old when Vigneault inherited the puck at the blue line. His point shot sliced ​​through several players before beating goalkeeper Reilly Mercer.

“I don't remember all my career goals, but I know this is a very important one,” Vigneault said. I've been waiting for a long time for the little attacking side that I had more of during the season. To leave my team alive, it feels good. »

The heroism of the 19-year-old defender allowed the Tigres team to avoid elimination and force the fifth confrontation, which will be held in Drummondville on Friday evening. In the other semifinal, the Baie-Comeau Drakkar has a 3-1 lead over the Cape Breton Eagles.

Nathan Darveaux was the star of the match with 42 saves for Tigres. He faced more than 40 shots for the fourth time since the start of the playoffs.

In addition to Vigneault, Igor Goryunov and Francesco Iacenza red-lighted the Victoriaville forces. Nikita Prishipov and Justin LaRose each had two assists.

“I mentioned yesterday that if the players don't believe it, they should stay at home. Today, I had 20 players believe it, Tigres coach Carl Mallett insisted. We had the energy of desperation and it showed. I think the Voltigeurs played an excellent game, so We had to play a good game to beat them. Nathan was sensational.”

Simon-Pierre Brunet and Vsevolod Komarov have threaded the needle for the Voltigeurs, who have won their last four games. Mercer surrendered three runs on 37 pitches.

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“It's a good playoff. We expected them to come out strong,” analyzed Voltigeurs coach Sylvain Favreau. “I liked our departure. We played with tempo and energy. These are close matches and it's a close call. We'll get ready for Part 5. »

Komarov just won the Emile-Bouchard Trophy, awarded to the defenseman of the year in the QMJHL. However, he and his defensive teammates couldn't close the books.

Komarov noted: “I am happy to win this cup, but it is not the main cup I want to win.”

Tigers survive

The Tigers started the game confidently and were the first to open the scoring after 3:31 to play.

Goryunov passed the ball to Iasenza, who fired a precise shot into the top corner. The referees checked the sequence to ensure that Mercer was not the victim of a foul by Thomas Gagnon and after deliberation awarded the goal.

The Voltigeurs' response arrived less than three minutes later. Kassim Godet, pinned behind the net, handed the puck in front of the net to Brunet, who fired a cannonball over Darvaux's shoulder.

The visitors increased the pressure in the first half, but Darvue made some good saves. On the other hand, Mercer noticeably needed help from his teammates near goal, while being out of position in his semicircle.

The Voltigeurs took advantage of their numerical advantage to take the lead, with less than seven minutes remaining in the second half. While Prishipov was inside the penalty area, Komarov fired a powerful ball that hit the net.

The Tigers hit more shots in the third period, but the offensive breakthroughs were not very serious. However, a good entry into the area was enough to return both teams to square one.

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Larousse crossed the blue line and left the puck to his left for Prishipov. The latter passed it to Goryunov, who took advantage of the pass in front of Mercer to shoot into the net.