'Piques perfect in weekend of highs

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:35 AM ET

Benoit Groulx normally doesn't like to get too excited when coaching the Gatineau Olympiques.

But this past weekend was anything but normal for his team and what it accomplished in winning all three games, two on the road and one at home.

The latest came yesterday at the Robert Guertin Centre, a convincing 7-1 victory over Baie-Comeau.

But it was Saturday's win in Victoriaville that the 'Piques will remember for a long time.

Trailing 3-2 in the final minute, Claude Giroux scored with 0.6 seconds remaining to send the contest into overtime.

And with 0.2 seconds left in the extra period, rookie Michael Stinziani scored the winner with a buzzer-beater that sent the Gatineau bench into an uproar.

"The vets told the kids it was the first time they've seen me excited behind the bench. I went like this," said Groulx, while pumping his arm in celebration.

ON FIRE

The wins improved Gatineau's record to 12-5-0 on the season and kept the team among the elite squads in the early going of the QMJHL season.

The 'Piques didn't arrive back in Gatineau until 3 a.m. yesterday, but they must have still been riding the emotional high from Saturday's improbable win.

"When we tied it up, we all jumped as if we had just won the President's Cup," said Stinziani. "When I scored my goal, apparently they jumped just as high -- and (Groulx) jumped too, which is rare, I guess."

Stinziani had an assist in yesterday's game in which the Olympiques managed to score seven times despite just putting 22 shots on the Baie-Comeau net.

Eighteen-year-old Quebec league rookie Darryl Smith -- a St. Catharines native -- scored his first two major-junior goals, including the winner for Gatineau yesterday.

Guillaume Labrecque, Nic Fugere, Martin Frechette, Giroux and Jonathan Carrier also scored for the 'Piques.

Goaltender Olivier Laliberte gave starting netminder David Tremblay a rest and did a good job, stopping 23 shots for his third win of the season.

Gatineau started the weekend with a 7-1 win in Quebec City over Patrick Roy's Remparts.

"It was a team effort," said Groulx of yesterday's effort. "Everybody contributed. It's nice to see that."

Not all was great for the 'Piques, however. Import centre David Krejci left yesterday's game in the first period with a knee injury, and Groulx said he could be out of action for a month.

Gatineau's next game is at home on Friday against Rimouski.

67'S DROP ANOTHER: At Brampton, the Ottawa 67's lost 3-0 to the Battalion in OHL action. Luke Lynes, Michael Vernace and Jason Cassidy scored against Ottawa goalie Danny Battochio, who faced 44 shots. Brampton goalie Daren Machesney made 34 saves for the Battalion and recorded his second straight shutout after blanking the Wolves Friday in Sudbury. The 67's return to action Friday at home to Belleville before completing their October schedule in Oshawa on Saturday.

barre.campbell@ott.sunpub.com

Olympiques 7

Drakkar 1


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