SHAWINIGAN, Que. – The Shawinigan Cataractes, fresh off a 2015-16 season where they made it to the Presidents Cup finals before losing in five games to the powerful Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, opened the new season Friday night against the Victoriaville Tigres.
However the Cataractes marched into battle in their home opener without six players who are participating in National Hockey League camps. Anthony Beauvillier (Islanders), Alexis D’Aoust (Canucks), Gabriel Gagné (Sénateurs), Dennis Yan (Lightning), Samuel Girard (Predators), and Brandon Gignac (Devils) were all absent.
Head coach Claude Bouchard still had several veterans in his lineup that were capable of holding their own on opening night. Mikhail Denisov got the start in goal after serving as the backup to Philippe Cadorette for the balance of last season and playoffs. Another returning player, Samuel Asselin got the Cataractes first goal of the year three minutes into the contest. The 18-year-old received a pass from Louis-Philip Fortin and fired it past the Tigres netminder for a one-goal lead. Renat Dadadzhanov tacked on the secondary assist.
It would remain a 1-0 game for the remainder of the first period and half of the second period until Victoriaville struck back. Alexandre Goulet scored a powerplay goal at 11:07 tying the game at a goal apiece. Former Cataracte James Phelan and Tristan Pomerleau added helpers.
Three minutes later Samuel Bucek and Vincent Senez-Allaire set up Asselin’s second goal of the contest to regain the Cataractes lead, 2-1. The visitors weren’t about to go away quietly as Ivan Kosorenkov scored an unassisted goal one minute later followed by a powerplay marker from Maxime Comtois to put the Tigres on top 3-2, a lead they would take into the second intermission. Midway through the third period Jonathan Deschamps tallied the equalizer for Shawinigan with Bucek and Dadadzhanov each getting their second assists of the evening. The tie lasted all of 30 seconds before Bradley Lalonde scored the game winner to restore a one-goal Victoriaville lead.
Goaltender Olivier Tremblay fended off every shot the Cataractes fired his way in the final nine minutes of the game to seal a 4-3 victory for his Tigres and finish with 20 saves. Denisov posted a solid performance for the losing side stopping 28 shots.
Three Stars of the Game
1st Star: Alexandre Goulet(VIC) – One goal, One assist
2nd Star: Samuel Asselin(SHA) – Two goals, +3
3rd Star: Ivan Kosorenkov(VIC) – One goal