The Sherbrooke Phoenix got a 50-save performance from Evan Fitzpatrick, but could not take full advantage, as they fell 3-2 in overtime to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, in the first game of the 2015-16 season for both teams. Antoine Waked scored the game-winner for Rouyn-Noranda, as the 2,713 fans at the Sports Palace saw the unveiling of the QMJHL’s new 3-on-3 overtime format.
The 17-year-old Fitzpatrick stopped 51 shots, a career high, as the Huskies outshot Sherbrooke 54-29 in the contest.
The Phoenix got off to a quick start, as Julien Bahl opened the scoring at 2:21 after receiving a cross-ice pass from Guillaume Gauthier. The lead lasted only 21 seconds, though, as Vincent Chapleau tied the game for the Huskies at 2;42.
Sherbrooke restored their lead at the six-minute mark, as Gauthier hit the net on a shot in the slot, after being fed by Kai Schweri. Vincent Deslauriers had a glorious chance to double the lead halfway through the period, but could not beat the Huskies’ Samuel Harvey.
After the quick start, the game settled into a defensive battled, with the only second-period goal coming from the Huskies’ Mathieu Boucher, who scored a power-play goal at 8:24 off a rebound.
A scoreless third period led into the first exhibition of the QMJHL’s new 3-on-3 overtime format. However, the combination of a late third-period penalty and a too many men call at 1:08 meant that much of the period was played with a 4-on-3 Huskies power play.
The Huskies’ Waked ended matters with a seeing-eye goal that bounced off the crossbar and into the net with just 22 seconds left in overtime.
Harvey made 27 saves to pick up the win. The Huskies were 1-for-5 on the power play, while Sherbrooke was 0-for-5.
The Phoenix (0-0-1) are back at home on Sunday afternoon as they host the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (0-1-0).