Rouyn-Noranda, Que.– For a moment it looked like the Phoenix were well on their way to a fourth consecutive win in the Abitibi region, but things changed quickly. Together, Rafael Harvey-Pinard and Peter Abbandonato scored five unanswered goals, charging their team to a 6-3 win over the Phoenix. Harvery-Pinard had the hat-trick, while Abbandonato tallied two of his own. Rouyn-Noranda improved their record to a league best 25-5-0-0.
5:38 after the puck dropped, Patrik Hrehorcak skated in alone on Brendan Cregan and slipped one under his pad getting the Huskies on the board first. Hrehorcak’s tally was one of three Rouyn-Noranda breakaway goals on the night. Shortly thereafter, Benjamin Tardif threw one at the net causing goaltender, Samuel Harvey, some trouble. He gave up a juicy rebound to the likings of Oliver Okuliar who pounced on it, getting just enough to erase the 1-0 deficit. Bobby Dow recuperated the puck along the half boards and sniped one past Harvey at 14:31 of the first to give the Birds the lead at the break.
Just past the midway point of middle stanza, Patrick Guay led a 3-on-1 and took it upon himself to take the shot. The result; a goal. That was all the offence the Phoenix would produce however, as the final 25 minutes belonged entirely to the Huskies. Abbandonato cued the comeback on the power play at 15:12 of the second, beating Cregan on an Ovechkin-like slapshot from the faceoff dot. With nine seconds left in the period, Harvey-Pinard was left all alone in front of the net and made the Phoenix pay, tying the game at 3-3. Rouyn-Noranda was all over Sherbrooke in the second, creating chances everywhere on the ice, including a series of odd-man rushes.
The third saw much of the same. Just when the Phoenix thought they might have a chance to retake the lead on the power play, Abbandonato broke free, and despite falling to his knees, the 20-year-old regained his balance and found the back of the net for his second of the game. The fatigue was really starting to show for the visitors at this point. Harvey-Pinard added some insurance, when he found himself in all alone with no one to beat but the goalie, and that is exactly what he did. The Huskies captain completed his hat-trick four minutes later, dumping one into the empty net as the Dogs rallied back to top the Birds 6-3.
Shots: Sherbrooke 29 – 33 Rouyn-Noranda
Benjamin Tardif had three assists in the losing cause, while Peter Abbandonato added to his league lead in points, with three more tonight, bringing his total to 55 on the year.
The Rimouski Océanic (17-10-2-0) visit the Phoenix on Saturday, December 8th, at 3:30 p.m. Sherbrooke and Rimouski are currently tied in the overall standings at 36 points apiece.
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by Evan Milner