Rocket responds after goalie pulled in second period
© Nigel Armstrong
Louick Marcotte, left, waits for a possible tip or rebound in front of Acadie-Bathurst Titan goalie Mason McDonald during first period action Friday at the Charlottetown Civic Centre.
The P.E.I. Rocket allowed two goals in three minutes to cough up the lead Friday, but responded to defeat the Acadie-Bathurst Titan 6-3 in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action.
Titan sniper Zach O’Brien had both goals to give his team a 3-2 lead with 5:31 to go in the second period at the Civic Centre. That's when Rocket coach Gordie Dwyer decided to replace Maxime Lagace with Antoine Bibeau.
“I think Gordie tried to send us a message and I think we answered well,” said winger Louick Marcotte, who had two goals and two assists on the night. “It’s never fun to see a goalie pulled off. … I don’t think it was towards Lagace, I think it was just to wake us up.”
It seemed to work.
Rocket captain Josh Currie went five-hole 90 seconds later and making a nice deke around a Titan defenceman to tie it before setting up Alexis Pépin 78 seconds later to give the home side a lead they would not relinquish. They added two empty-net goals for the 6-3 victory.
“It was a big comeback,” Marcotte said. “It showed character.”
Defenceman Tomas Pavelka said it was important victory after playing poorly for two periods in losing its last game in Sydney, N.S. on Wednesday.
“We needed this win and (today) we have to win,” said Pavelka, who had two helpers on the evening.
The win improved the Rocket to 13-8-1 and allowed them to leapfrog Moncton (13-10) and back into second place in the Telus Maritimes Division. Moncton lost 5-4 to Val d’Or (11-9-0-2) Friday. The Titan drops to 9-12-4 and fourth in the division.
“That’s was a huge two points for us, especially a divisional game,” Currie said. “You can’t really blame Max on those goals. Those were unlucky bounces and breakdowns on our part.”
Lagace said they got lucky on two of the goals. One deflected off defenceman Jimmy Oligny and the last goal hit off the goalie’s stick, deflected off the glass and O’Brien tipped it off Lagace and into the net.
“I felt good in the net. Things like that happen. We needed a change, I guess,” he said. “It’s good to see that we came back. It’s good for the team.”
Ben Duffy had a pair of goals in the win while Erik Robichaud set up three tallies. Currie and Duffy, who entered the game as the league’s top two point getters, each had three-point nights.
Currie had a great chance to score in the second period, but passed up a shot to try to feed his linemate.
“Obviously you want to be unselfish. Duffy is probably the most unselfish players in the league,” Currie explained. “I felt like I’d give him a gift there, but unfortunately it went through the legs. Maybe next time I will get him.”
P.E.I. Rocket – 6
Acadie-Bathurst – 3
P.E.I. Rocket – Ben Duffy (2), Louick Marcotte (2), Josh Currie and Alexis Pépin.
Acadie-Bathurst – Zach O’Brien (2) and Patrik Zdrahal.
P.E.I. Rocket – Erik Robichaud, Tomas Pavelka (2), Marcotte (2), Currie (2), Ryan Graves and Jimmy Oligny.
Acadie-Bathurst – Sean Girard (2), Myles McGurty, Christophe Lalancette, Zdrahal.
P.E.I. Rocket – Maxime Lagace, 21 saves on 24 shots. Antoine Bibeau 9 saves on 9 shots.
Acadie-Bathurst – Mason McDonald 25 shots on 29 saves.
Attendance – 2011 (announced). It is the largest crowd for a home game since 2,071 attended the Sept. 23 game against Halifax.
Did you know? The P.E.I. Rocket did not take a penalty during the game. Bathurst took four minors.
1. Josh Currie
2. Louick Marcotte
3. Zach O’Brien
Up next: The Rocket host Val d’Or tonight at 7 p.m.