’Piques make it look easy
Sweep Screaming Eagles to advance to second round of QMJHL playoffs
Olympiques 7, Screaming Eagles 1
(Gatineau wins best-of-seven 4-0)
No one, including the Gatineau Olympiques, thought it was going to be that easy — or at least look that easy.
With their 7-1 road win Thursday night, the Olympiques claimed their first-round Quebec Major Junior Hockey League series in a four-game sweep over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and outscored their Nova Scotian counterparts 30-7 in the process.
“Our experience and our goaltending I think was the difference,” Olympiques coach Benoit Groulx said. “We put a lot of pressure on them and their young goaltenders were unable to regroup and take one game at a time. I don’t think the difference between the two teams is that huge but I think goaltending was an issue for them.”
The decisive game was delayed one day as much of the Maritimes got buried in a spring snowstorm Wednesday. The Screaming Eagles may have gotten out of homes Thursday, but realistically they were buried too deep to dig themselves out of the avalanche the Olympiques sent their way.
Binge scoring was a big reason the Olympiques were able to roll over the Screaming Eagles. They scored four times in the third period of Games 1 and 2 and four goals in the second period of Games 3 and 4.
There was only one period out of the 12 played in the series in which the Olympiques failed to score— the third period of Game 3 — but they had already built a 7-2 lead after 40 minutes in that game, which finished by the same score.
Eight different players had goals in the four games and only one skater, Derek Sheppard, failed to register at least one point.
“It’s good to see that our guys are confident with the puck and it feels good to be able to finish the series (Thursday) and now it’s a matter of getting ready for the next one,” Groulx said
The Olympiques now have a week off before opening their second-round series on the road against one of four possible opponents — the Rimouski Oceanic, Val d’Or Foreurs, Halifax Mooseheads or Baie Comeau Drakkar.
Alexis Pepin had two goals on Thursday, including the fourth and fifth just 35 seconds apart midway through the second period to essentially put a bow on the series.
Martin Reway also scored twice, Emile Poirier and Taylor Burke had the other goals and the Olympiques got three assists from Jonathan Bourcier.
Maxim Lazarev scored the Screaming Eagles’ only goal and broke Robert Steeves’ shutout bid in the process at 14:13 of the third period.
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