The Cataractes strike quickly in the final period to eliminate the Rocket from the QMJHL playoffs
P.E.I. Rocket’s Philip Paradis congratulates Shawinigan Cataractes’ head coach Eric Veilleux after the Cataractes eliminated the Rocket from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs Friday night at the Civic Centre. (Transcontinental Media photo by Jonathan Roberge)
There is no playoff tomorrow for the P.E.I. Rocket after a brutal third period collapse in a 4-1, Game 5 defeat to the Shawinigan Cataractes on Friday at the Civic Centre.
The Rocket, up 1-0 almost midway into the third period, surrendered four goals in under nine minutes and ended its Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season on an abrupt note.
Shawinigan won the best-of-seven first round series 4-1 by taking three road games at the Civic Centre.
The Cataractes now move on to face the Quebec Remparts in the quarter-final round which begins next weekend.
Meanwhile, the Rocket wonder about what could have been after its sixth straight first round elimination.
“I don’t know what happened. We played better than them,” said Rocket defenceman Jimmy Oligny, struggling to make sense of the letdown. “We had the game in control. I don’t know what happened.”
Part of the fall was a speedy Cataractes team that kept skating after Samuel Morneau’s goal at 15:41 of the second period staked P.E.I. to a 1-0 lead it held till the end of the frame.
There was no better example of those fleet feet than Michaël Bournival's third period rush.
Tied 1-1 on Maximilien LeSieur’s goal at 7:41, Bournival, the Shawinigan captain, wove around the Rocket defenders.
His attempted shot was knocked away, but the 18-year-old recovered the puck in the corner and sent a slick accurate pass to linemate Jean-Francois Plante, who got behind the Rocket backline and tipped the winning goal past goalie Evan Mosher.
Bournival and Dave Labrecque added the final two goals while Gabriel Girard, Shawinigan's goalie, did what he did the entire series: stop pucks.
Friday, the 19-year-old Varennes, Que., native, stopped 36-of-37 shots for his fourth win of the playoffs.
“The defence did a good job in front of me. Cleaned every rebound. I saw every shot,” said Girard, a four-year veteran of the Cataractes. “I’m just happy to win the series. It could have gone either way.”
Girard finished 4-1 against the Rocket, including a shutout, while stopping 148 of the 156 shots sent his way.
That’s translates into a 1.58 goals-against average and a .949 save percentage.
He was the first star in Game 5.
Mosher was almost as good, although the numbers (1-4, 2.96 GAA, .909 save percentage) won’t reflect the many big saves the 20-year-old made to keep P.E.I. aloft.
He wasn’t helped by Girard’s play, nor by too many Rocket chances that either missed the net or hit the posts or by an anemic Rocket power play which went 1-for-15 (6.7 per cent) at the Civic Centre and 1-for-20 overall (five per cent).
Friday, P.E.I. went 0-for-4 with the extra man.
Regardless how the Rocket got there, the 2010-11 campaign is done.
“Saddened. Tired and just . . . the hockey season, when it’s finished, there’s no words to describe that,” said Oligny, who ended the series with 10 penalty minutes and a minus-three plus-minus.
Benjamin Casavant, a former Rocket, was the leading scorer in the series with one goal and seven points.
Bournival, who had three goals, and Labrecque each finished with six points in the five games.
Andrej Nestrasil lead the Rocket with one goal and six points, while Ben Duffy and Samuel Morneau each had two goals and three points.
Philippe Paradis, who the Rocket received in the off-season trade for Casavant, had a goal and an assist in the series.
Former Rocket defenceman Marc-Andre Gragnani was named to the American Hockey League first-team all-star team Thursday. Gragnani, now with the Portland Pirates, leads all AHL defencemen in points (60) and assists (48) after 63 games. He was called up late last month by the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres.
Game A Glance:
u The Outcome - Shawinigan 4 P.E.I. 1 (Shawinigan wins 4-1 in best-of-seven series)
u The Goalscorers - Shawinigan: Dave Labrecque (2), Jean-Francois Plante (1), Michaël Bournival (2), Maximilien LeSieur (2); P.E.I.: Samuel Morneau (2).
u The Assists - Shawinigan: Benjamin Casavant 2 (6), Loïk Poudrier (1), Yannick Veilleux (1), Jean-Francois Plante (1), Michaël Bournival (3), Peter Sakaris (3); P.E.I.: Andrej Nestrasil (5), Philippe Paradis (1).
u The Goalies - Shawinigan: Gabriel Girard, 36-of-37, win (4-1); P.E.I.: Evan Mosher, 30-of-34, loss (1-4).
u Shots By Period - Shawinigan: 10-8-16, 34; P.E.I.: 7-15-15, 37.
u Power Play - Shawinigan: 0-for-3; P.E.I.: 0-for-4.
u Penalty Minutes - Shawinigan: 8; P.E.I.: 6.
u Hits - Shawinigan: 20; P.E.I.: 28.
u 50-50 Draw - $2,095.
u Attendance - 1,918.