Voltigeurs 3 Oceanic 2 (OT)
RIMOUSKI, Que. — Gabriel Dumont may have scored the overtime winner, but goaltender Marco Cousineau was the real hero for the Drummondville Voltigeurs.
Cousineau made 39 saves, including eight in overtime, as the Voltigeurs pulled out a 3-2 victory in a game in which they were badly outplayed by the Rimouski Oceanic on Wednesday night in the final round robin game at the MasterCard Memorial Cup.
The win puts Drummondville through to the semifinals of the four-team tournament while Rimouski must play the Windsor Spitfires in a tiebreaker game Thursday night to determine the second semifinalist.
The winner of the semifinal game will face the Kelowna Rockets in the final.
“He was more than outstanding,” Dumont said of Cousineau, who rebounded from a third-period meltdown in a 6-4 loss to Kelowna. “He just stood up all game. This win goes to him.”
It was the second overtime win of the tournament for the Voltigeurs, who beat Windsor 3-2 in extra time on Saturday.
The Oceanic had a 41-20 shot advantage and controlled most of the game, cutting off the Voltigeurs in the neutral zone, firing pucks into their zone and pounding their defencemen.
But the first weak effort of the tournament from Rimouski goalie Maxime Gougeon kept the ailing Voltigeurs in the game.
After a faceoff in the Rimouski zone, Marc-Olivier Vachon got the puck to the net where Dumont batted at it three times before it slid past the sprawled Gougeon.
Jonathan Brunelle, playing his first tournament game in place of the virus-struck Sean Couturier, and projected first-round draft pick Dmitry Kulikov had the other goals for Drummondville, which swept a best-of-seven series from Rimouski in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League semifinals a month ago.
Patrice Cormier, leader of Rimouski’s C-line with Philippe Cornet and Jordan Caron, tied the game early in the third period as the Oceanic rode the energy of its chanting home fans. Luca Cunti also scored for the Oceanic.
“It was a great performance by their goaltender,” said Oceanic coach Clement Jodoin. “We have nothing to be ashamed of. We battled until the end, but sometimes the result doesn’t match the performance.”
Drummondville coach Guy Boucher, already missing scoring star Chris DiDomenico to a broken leg, lost another as centre Maxime Frenette broke an ankle, although he played through it during the third period and overtime. Two other players played despite being ill, he said.
“We had nothing,” he said. “Cousineau has done this in the past.
“He bounces back every time he has a poor performance. He wanted to get that game back and he did.”
Cousineau, a third-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks, said he ”let the team down against Kelowna and I didn’t want that to happen again.
”Games like this are fun. You’re in the action. For sure, my opponent must have found the game long at times. When you don’t get a lot of shots, your feet get cold and it’s not fun at all.”
A crowd of 5,062 fans, the largest at the tournament so far, was two deep in the standing room section. The home side rode the energy of the crowd and stormed out of the gate, outshooting the Voltigeurs 11-4 in the opening period.
Cousineau made spectacular glove saves on Cornet and Caron during three Rimouski power plays.
It continued in the second and produced the first goal as Felix Lefrancois threw the puck to the net and Cunti poked in his second of the tournament at 1:39.
But after the initial onslaught, Drummondville got some chances and found that while Gougeon, who was brilliant when facing a lot of shots in earlier games, struggled when facing just a few.
At 6:07, Brunelle got a second chance on a break to the net and slid it by Gougeon on his team’s sixth shot of the game.
On Drummondville’s first full power play, Kulikov’s low point shot went between Gougeon’s pads at 11:56 on the Voltigeurs’ eighth shot.
The Oceanic poured it on again in the third and tied it on a power play at 5:23 when two Volts at the blue-line went to Cornet, who slipped the puck to Cormier to score on a wrist shot from the slot.