HOST 1 QUEBEC 2
By/Par: Graeme Kishiuchi
In the most anticipated game of the round robin, the Quebec Champion Levis Commandeurs faced off against the host Gatineau Intrepide. The two teams met in the Quebec league final, where Levis swept the series 4-0. Gatineau gained the early momentum as they generated some quality chances on two power plays, but were unable to solve Bobby Nadeau. Levis weathered the storm and Olivier Painchaud had a breakaway, but Gatineau’s Maxim Gougeon came up with a big stop. The teams traded a couple of power play chances a piece in the remainder of the period, with both goaltenders responding with big saves. The first period was a great example of fast and physical play-off hockey, with Gatineau out shooting Levis 6-5.
Levis started the second period strong, pinning the Intrepide in their zone and Gougeon had to make two huge stops to keep the game tied. The end-to-end action continued until 13:31, when 6’6” Simon Danis-Pepin walked in from the point and beat Nadeau over the glove to give the host team a 1-0 lead. The Commandeurs responded quickly, when Mikael Bedard finished of a great passing play by sliding it past a helpless Gougeon 34 seconds later to even it at 1-1. Levis took their first lead at 9:54 when Bedard took a drop pass from Jean-Phillipe Roy-Vallieres and fired it over Gougeon’s glove for his second of the night. The play went back and forth frantically until the one minute mark when Intrepide Maxim Langelier-Parent had a 140 foot breakaway, but couldn’t lift it over Nadeau’s pad, disappointing the large and loud home crowd. The teams finished the hard fought period with the score 2-1 Commandeurs, who were out shot 9-7.
The intensity continued to increase in the third period as both teams fought tooth and nail for every inch. Levis got into more penalty trouble but the Intrepide were unable to keep any sustained pressure. Both goaltenders were very solid in the final frame, making the first save and not letting out any rebounds. During one intense sequence, Intrepide captain Olivier Donovan stayed down with an apparent knee injury and did not return. In his absence, Gatineau pulled the goaltender and applied sustained pressure in the last two minutes, with Nick Pitsikoulis just missing the top corner. Both teams called their timeouts, with Levis’s coming just before a face-off in their zone with 8.7 seconds left. Gatineau won the draw and had three in-tight chances but were unable to tie the game. The best game of the tournament so far ended with Levis outlasting Gatineau 2-1. The Player of the Game for Levis was Mikael Bedard (2 Goals). Gatineau’s Player of the Game was their big defenseman, Simon Danis-Pepin (1 Goal).
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