RIMOUSKI | Against all odds, the Rimouski Oceanic eliminated the host team of the next Memorial Cup, the Saint John Sea Dogs, from the playoffs thanks to a 4-3 victory in overtime this Thursday night in New Brunswick.
From the start of extra time, Alexander Gaudio charged to the net to grab a rebound to beat Nikolas Hurtubise and threw hysteria into the visitors' camp after just 30 seconds of overtime. Neglected, the Océanic has always believed in its chances in this series. Serge Beausoleil's men will now face the Quebec Remparts.
“I'm very proud of the guys. Credit goes to the players. Sometimes they find me demanding, but they are so receptive. Our captain (Ludovic Soucy) received a blow to the head. He came back and he is preparing the winning goal. Those who wondered why he was kept as a 20-year-old player should remember that he left the ice on a stretcher last year in the series against the Cataracts. He's a guy you can always count on in important games," commented Océanic head coach Serge Beausoleil.
A double from Dumoulin in the first
This goal chased Couture out of the game. He was replaced by Nikolas Hurtubise after allowing two goals on four shots. The Sea Dogs closed the gap to one goal midway through when Ryan Francis beat Patrik Hamrla in the top of the net on the power play.
The Sea Dogs come from behind
Midway through the second period, Hurtubise blocked Dumoulin on the breakaway. The former Tigers made some big saves after relieving Couture. Then, Cam MacDonald tied the game at 2-2 by pushing Marshall Lessard's return shot to the horizontal bar behind Patrik Hamrla.
The Sea Dogs took the lead for the first time in the game early in the 3rd period when Riley Bezeau beat Hamrla over the shoulder on the short side. In the 13th minute of play, Mathis Gauthier tied the game with a floating shot from the blue line that goalkeeper Hurtubise did not see.