Memorial Cup: Cataractes beat Bulldogs 3-2; their 2nd win in as many games

SAINT-JEAN, N.-B. – Led by Captain Mavrik Bourque, the Shawinigan Cataractes became the first team to secure at least a place in the Memorial Cup semi-finals.

Bourque had a goal and two assists, Olivier Nadeau scored on the power play in the third period and the QMJHL champion defeated the Hamilton Bulldogs 3-2 at TD Station on Thursday.

Considered underdogs before the tournament, the Cataractes (2-0-0-0) sit first overall with six points, ahead of the Saint John Sea Dogs (1-0-1-0, 4 pts) and Edmonton Oil Kings (0-1-0-1, 2 points) and the Bulldogs (0-0-0-2, 0 points).

“I’ve said it before, but we believe in ourselves,” Bourque said. We are here to have fun. We have a nice bunch of guys. And when we’re on the ice, we’re doing our job. »

On Saturday, the duel between the Cataractes and the Sea Dogs will decide which team will advance directly to the final on Wednesday. The loser has to play Monday’s semifinals against the Oil Kings or the Bulldogs, who have dates on Friday.

“The lads put in a brilliant performance and are committed to their team-mates and the team, to a certain way of playing,” said assistant coach Pascal Dupuis. It’s such a close-knit group. »

Xavier Bourgault also had a goal and two assists for the Cataractes. Antoine Coulombe stopped 38 shots in his first tournament appearance.

“Of course there is competition between goalkeepers, but ‘Lavy’ (Charles-Antoines Lavallée) and I have a good relationship,” said Coulombe. I was sorry not to start the tournament. I wanted to hit back tonight. »

For the Bulldogs, OHL champions Mason McTavish and Avery Hayes moved the ropes. Marco Costantini made 31 saves.

The Cataractes’ power play took its toll, scoring three goals in seven opportunities.

“There were a few decisions in the third period, in a 2-2 game, that I didn’t really like, especially the one that led to the decisive goal,” admitted Bulldogs head coach Jay McKee. But that’s hockey.

“They played well on the power play. Although we studied her on video, her execution was magnificent. […] But we must not be frustrated. I liked our effort. »

It was the Bulldogs who dictated play early in the game, firing 11 of the first 12 shots on goal.

They took the opportunity to take the lead at 5:08 during a two-man overtime game. McTavish hit the bull’s eye with a good one-timer shot.

The Cataractes quickly turned things around by scoring twice on the power play. Bourgault first took advantage of a perfect pass from Bourque to level the game at 6:47.

Bourque then put the Cataractes ahead by 11:42, three seconds into a two-man power play. The Dallas Stars prospect unleashed a powerful one-timer that gave Costantini no chance.

Coulombe, meanwhile, was lucky when Jan Mysak’s shot went up in the air after a shoulder hit. The disc fell behind him, but in his panties. He eluded the hope of the Montreal Canadiens a goal.

“I felt it (the puck) and I knew I had to get off the line,” said Coulombe, who was saved by having the back of his jersey tucked into his shorts.

“I never tie the strap. I’m fine,” he added with a wink.

The second period was less lively, but the Bulldogs still tied the game at 2:32 in the whistle. Artem Grushnikov fired a long shot from the front, but the disc bounced off Hayes’ stick blade and Coulombe couldn’t adjust to save at the last moment.

The Cataracts responded 25 seconds later, but the goal was quickly canceled when Daniel Agostino touched the Bulldogs goalie.

It was just a reprieve as the Cataracts’ power play resumed early in the third period. Nadeau completed a perfect passing game started by Bourgault and Bourque at 7:06, giving the Mauricie team a 3-2 lead.

Coulombe and the Cataractes defense were able to close the door on the Bulldogs afterwards.

The Cataracts’ numerical advantage made all the difference

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