(Syracuse, NY) On paper it’s just a win. In reality it is much more than that.
Updated yesterday at 11:17pm.
After Cayden Primeau allowed the Laval Rocket to defeat Syracuse Crunch 3-2 on Saturday, he couldn’t seem to stop smiling.
When answering questions from journalists dispatched to the Upstate Medical University arena (!), the goalie showed his usual slime. Short answers, never to talk about him, always to pay tribute to his teammates. But that grin, he wasn’t lying.
This victory is of course infinitely important for the Rocket. In a short three-of-five streak, going home with a 1-1 draw is a mission accomplished. This applies all the more to Primeau. Because she confirms that he is indeed back.
The storm blew so hard against the Canadian this season that it took the young man with it. Naturally calm in front of his net, Primeau was a shadow of his former self. Of his nine starts from November to February, he finished only four times. His confidence was shaken. But we kept him in Montreal for lack of other options.
When the Habs finally sent him back to Laval, he breathed a sigh of relief. “I wasn’t the same goalkeeper anymore,” he explained in February. In Laval he wanted to “build up” his game, or rather rebuild it.
And he did. However, his stats in the second half of the season were not outstanding. An 8-6-2 record. A little more than three goals are allowed per game. At the end of the season he went back to the bench to warm up in Montreal, which inevitably broke his rhythm.
So it came as no surprise that veteran Kevin Poulin was netted for the first game of the series on Friday night. He was the one who had kept watch for most of the campaign. And as coach Jean-François Houle explained, we preferred victory to development – Poulin, 30, has only one contract in the American League while Primeau, 22, is a candidate for the Canadians.
When the Rocket lost the opener and game two was played the next day, Houle surprised no one by turning his attention to Primeau. His guardian agreed with him.
With an Olympic calm, Primeau was the big star of his team in the first half, despite some hasty gestures, blocking 37 pucks. He certainly would have preferred to look better on the second goal of the crunch that ended the game 2-2. But given the manner in which he got his team out of trouble, including a near-miraculous block save late in the second third and pulling the mitt off Cole Koepke, who escaped in the third, no one would care. will hold it rigorously.
He was excellent. He kept us in the game. I am very proud of his commitment.
Jean-François Houle, missile trainer, on Cayden Primeau
“He was very confident and played a great game. I’m happy for him,” added striker Gabriel Bourque.
Primeau, as I said, doesn’t like pouring out his own achievements. He boasted about his teammates blocking shots and spoke about Brandon Gignac’s “big” goal towards the end of the game.
His smile was still visible when a journalist pointed out that the fight against Syracuse was now continuing in Laval and that Place Bell would see its playoff christening next Thursday, in the Rocket’s fifth year.
“The fans supported us throughout the season where they could,” he recalled. We feel their energy, we feed on it. Giving you a playoff game will be amazing. »
There’s no guarantee Primeau will be the masked man in action that night. But overall, that doesn’t matter. He has already achieved his most important win of the season.
Jesse Ylönen scored the rocket’s first goal with an absolutely brilliant shot. Canadian fans got a taste of it in the few games he played for the big club this season, but the shot he served from the right-hand circle at goalkeeper Maxime Lagacé in the first period was a fine art. An NHL shot, no doubt. And a good one.
Brandon Gignac played the heroes with less than two minutes left to break the tie 2-2. The Repentigny native was forgotten behind local defense and after receiving a puck sent by Ylönen, took it twice to thwart Lagacé with a backhand shot. “He’s been scoring big goals for the past few weeks,” observed Jean-François Houle. It’s a very important goal, I hope it gives him confidence. “At first I was afraid he would stop her! the author laughed at the winning goal. After returning I had to go to the skylight. I am very happy ! »
The series is only two games long, but the intensity is very, very high. On Saturday, tough checks were sold out like sand by the sea. A sequence early in the third period was a perfect example of this, when The Rocket’s Devante Smith-Pelly hit Frank Hora hard, seconds after The Crunch’s Daniel Walcott had done the same in Nate Schnarr’s place. “All season, Syracuse has given us playoff hockey,” said Cayden Primeau. It’s that kind of team. It is fun! »