Shawinigan, Que. – The Phoenix were in Shawinigan on Wednesday night looking to regain their confidence and snap an eight game losing streak ahead of the postseason. Though it did not come easy, Alex-Olivier Voyer’s go-ahead goal with 5:44 remaining was enough to push the Birds over the Cataractes.
Extended losing streaks are not something that Stephane Julien and his team have been accustomed to this season. Prior to their latest skid of eight games, the Birds longest streak of defeats lasted no longer than four games. With the 2019 QMJHL Playoffs kicking off in a little over a week, Wednesday night presented a grade-A opportunity for the Phoenix to get back on track with a win over a struggling Shawinigan Cataractes team.
Dakota-Lund Cornish stopped 24 of 26 shots in the contest, including a couple of key saves in the final frame to preserve the two points for his club.
“On the penalty kill, he made a big save when it was 2-2 when it could have turned there way. That is what we ask from our goalies and Coulombe did the same for Shawinigan. He made some big saves two or three times on Voyer and Bobby Dow. We will gladly take the two points and the performance was much appreciated from the coaching staff. We are very proud of our guys tonight,” said Stephane Julien.
Despite a dominant first period, out shooting the opponent 13-4, the Phoenix were unable to find the back of the net. This was nothing new to the Birds, who were scoring only 2.37 goals per game on their losing streak, down 1.34 from their season average of 3.71.
In the second, Bailey Peach slid a perfect pass over to a streaking Jeremy Rainville who had to do nothing more than lift the puck over a sprawling Antoine Coulombe to give the Phoenix a 1-0 lead. Rainville’s third of the season snapped a thirteen game goalless drought.
After Yann-Felix Lapointe coughed up the puck in his own end, Xavier Bourgault broke in on goal and despite making the initial save, the puck redirected off Jeremy Jacques and past Lund-Cornish making it 1-1. With St.Patrick’s coming up this weekend, it is safe to say that luck was not on the side of the Phoenix on this goal.
Captain Poulin responded less than five minutes later, snapping one past a screened Coulombe from the top of the face-off circle to regain the Phoenix lead.
The Cataractes weren’t going down without a fight however, as midway through the final stanza Leon Denny knotted it at 2-2. The tie did not last long though, because after being frustrated twice earlier in the game, Alex-Olivier Voyer was able to squeeze one through the Cats netminder when it mattered most, which proved to be the game winning goal for the Birds who celebrated their first win since February 19th.
Taro Jentszch was given a five minute major and game misconduct at 18:49 of the second period for a hit to the head.
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Sherbrooke visits the Victoriaville Tigers on Friday at 7:00 p.m., before wrapping up their regular season in Drummondville against the Voltigeurs on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
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by Evan Milner