BATHURST – The QMJHL semi-final series between the Acadie-Bathurst Titan and the Victoriaville Tigres got underway Friday night at the K.-C.-Irving Regional Centre. Bathurst allowed the first goal but came charging back to take game one of the best-of-seven match up.
Vitalii Abramov finished off a tic-tac-toe play with Ivan Kosorenkov and Maxime Comtois after a defensive breakdown behind the Titan net giving the visitors a 1-0 lead 4:13 into play. The Titan tied it 3:15 later as Justin Ducharme scored his first career playoff goal. Samuel L’Italien picked up the lone assist on the shorthanded marker. Ducharme found the back of the net again beating Etienne Montpetit with a backhander with just 38 seconds remaining in the opening period. Jeffrey Viel and Olivier Galipeau got the helpers.
A powerplay tally from Galipeau at 5:44 of the second period extended the Titan lead to 3-1. Viel and German Rubtsov notched assists on Galipeau’s fourth of the post-season. A little while later Keenan MacIsaac sent Viel in alone on a shorthanded breakaway and he beat Montpetit to push the lead to 4-1. L’Italien also grabbed a helper on the play. Just before the midway mark of the frame Ducharme fed Crossman on a 2-on-1 break and the Sackville, New Brunswick native made no mistake for his seventh of the playoffs to give the Titan a 5-1 edge. Jimmy Huntington got one back for the Tigres late in the period to make it 5-2 through 40 minutes of play.
Midway through the third period Simon Lafrance got the Tigres to within three with a shorthanded goal. Viel stole the puck in the neutral zone before depositing the puck softly into the empty net to seal a 6-3 win with 55 seconds remaining. Evan Fitzpatrick made 24 saves in the win.
1st Star – Evan Fitzpatrick
2nd Star – Justin Ducharme
3rd Star – Jeffrey Viel