Phoenix dump Armada and ‘Piques for first wins

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By John Edwards
Staff Writer

Prior to Friday’s game at the Sports Palace, Sherbrooke Phoenix head coach Judes Vallée said that the team had got its “heart and soul” back with the return of five veterans from NHL camps.
His comments were borne out on this weekend, as the Phoenix team that exploded for 15 goals over the past two games, and cruised to a 6-2 win over the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada on Friday and a 9-6 triumph in Gatineau on Sunday was 180 degrees different from the one that had struggled to an 0-3-1 start.
On Friday, the five returnees: Jérémy Roy, Daniel Audette, Carl Neill, Julien Pelletier and Alexis Vanier, accounted for three of the Phoenix’s six goals, and seven points overall as Sherbrooke picked up their first win of 2015-16.
Guillaume Gauthier led the Phoenix with a pair of goals, and finished with three points. He opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 6:59 of the first, and Audette doubled the Sherbrooke lead at 10:17.
Nicolas Poulin put Sherbrooke up 3-0 with just two minutes gone in the second period. Tyler Hylland put the Armada on the board at the 4:13 mark, but Roy restored Sherbrooke’s three-goal lead less than a minute later. Sherbrooke took 1 4-1 lead into the room after 40 minutes.
Guillaume Bergeron-Charron scored for Blainville-Boisbriand at 2:16 of the third, but goals by Gauthier (4:03) and Pelletier (6:45) sank the Armada.
Evan Fitzpatrick picked up his first win of the season, after his lightest night of work. He made 25 saves, as the Phoenix outshot Blainville 28-27. Samuel Montembeault took the loss for the Armada.
The Phoenix were 2-for-3 on the power play, while the Armada were 0-for-8.
On Sunday in Hull, the Phoenix picked up their second win of the season, as they came out on top in a 9-6 goal fest against the Gatineau Olympiques.
Gatineau led 2-1 after the first period, but Sherbrooke had taken a 5-4 after 40 minutes and put the game away in the third period.
Czech forward Jan Dufek led the Phoenix with a hat trick. He scored a pair of goals 2:32 apart early in the second to put Sherbrooke up 3-2, and completed the hat trick at 13:57 of the third.
Vincent Deslauriers had a pair of goals for Sherbrooke, including the eventual game-winner at 4:50 of the third. The other Phoenix goals came from Jeremy Roy, Guillaume Gauthier, Nicolas Poulin and Daniel Audette.
Alexandre Alain led Gatineau with a pair of goals, while Jeffrey Durocher, Alex Breton, Alexandre Carrier and Yan Pavel Laplante had the other Olympique markers.
Evan Fitzpatrick made 15 saves to pick up the win. Mathieu Bellemare and Bo Taylor split time in net for Gatineau.
Sherbrooke outshot Gatineau 39-21 and was 2-for-5 on the power play.
The Phoenix hit the ice next on Friday, when the Halifax Mooseheads visit the Palais des Sports. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m.
Friday’s game will be the first raincheque night of the year, where season-ticket holders with both unused tickets and friends can bring them together. Tickets can be exchanged on a one-for-one basis at the Phoenix box office.
As well, the Phoenix are calling Friday the first “student night” of the year, with two-for-one student tickets available at the Sports Palace box office. Fans must present their student ID, and be 25 years of age and younger, to take advantage of the promotion.

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