Lavoie’s OT winner gives QMJHL first win since 2017


Halifax Mooseheads forward Raphael Lavoie played the overtime hero in Game 2 of the 2019 CIBC Canada Russia Series to help Team QMJHL come away with a 4-3 victory.

The deciding goal marked the second tally of the night for Lavoie, who opened the scoring less than two minutes into the initial frame on a quick low shot that beat Russian netminder Amir Miftakhov who made his first appearance of the tournament.

Closing out the first period, the Russians evened the score when forward Egor Sokolov of the Cape Breton Eagles notched his first of the tournament after side stepping the defender before breaking into the crease and burying his own second chance to pick up a late marker.

Team QMJHL then regained its lead with another early goal coming at the 1:52 mark of the second period when Baie-Comeau Drakkar forward and Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Nathan Legare buried a perfect no-look feed from defenceman and 2020 NHL Draft hopeful Jeremie Poirier.

Russia would tie it however just 73 seconds later on a tremendous individual effort by Rimouski Oceanic forward Dmitry Zavgorodniy who used his quick speed to drive to the net and put one by netminder Olivier Rodrigue of the hometown Moncton Wildcats. The tally marked the third of the tournament for the Calgary Flames prospect.

The second period was then met with another quick scoring succession as Russia first regained the lead following a goal by Maxim Groshev who worked relentlessly to bang home a puck to give the Russians a 3-2 lead.

But it was just 35 seconds later when Team QMJHL again capitalized on a goal by Drummondville Voltigeurs forward and 2020 NHL Draft eligible Dawson Mercer who connected with Wildcats hero Jakob Pelletier for the second game in a row to even the game at three a side. Through two contests, Mercer, who was the Player of the Game for Team QMJHL in Game 1, has collected two goals and one assist.

Overtime was then needed after a scoreless third period sent the two sides to extra time knotted at three before Lavoie capitalized from in close to cap the comeback for Team QMJHL as the squad picked up its first win in the annual showcase for the first time since 2017.

“We wanted to get a win, and we got it with hard work, but we finally got it,” Lavoie said following the victory. “I felt like we gave them fewer scoring chances tonight and we played better defensively and as a group.”

In all, Tuesday marked the second straight game in which Lavoie has found the scoresheet after he recorded his first goal in Monday’s series opener. The budding talent now stands with a team-leading three goals across two games.

The 2019 CIBC Canada Russia Series, which sees Russia hold a 4-2 point margin through two games, now shifts to Kitchener on Thursday where Team OHL led by Owen Sound Attack forward and Los Angeles Kings prospect Aidan Dudas will take on the Russians before shifting to London on Monday.

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