After what we saw during the last part of the season, nobody expected the Cataractes to have it easy against the Drummondville Voltigeurs but that’s exactly what happened. The Cats played with a lot of heart and discipline and Alexandre Ménard-Burrows led the way with his intensity and discipline. He scored, hit and frustrated the Drummondville players into taking unnecessary penalties.
With the exception of game three, the Cats dominated and never trailed in any game and as the series went on Drummondville’s frustration grew. In game four in Drummondville, the Voltigeurs gave the series to the Cats by taking many penalties due to frustration for a total of 17 power-play opportunities in favour of the Cats. The Cats beat the Voltigeurs in five games but who knows what would have happened if the Voltigeurs had been able to control their emotions and play disciplined hockey. Unfortunately for Drummondville the Cats power play was excellent and defenceman Zbynek Michalek dominated when his team had the man advantage.
Another good point was the play of forward Charles Gauthier. He scored 6 goals including 2 game winning goals. He and Ménard-Burrows stepped up for the Cats who were without their leading scorer Jason Pominville. Goalie Olivier Michaud had a good series with the exception of a soft goal in a couple of the games when the Cats were up by 2 or 3 goals.
In the Conference final the Cats will play Victoriaville, a team with a lot of offensive punch. And now with the addition of Antoine Vermette who missed almost the entire season with a concussion they will be a difficult opponent to beat. Vermette will join Mallette, Brunelle, Lombardi and Groulx who each had 100 points this season. In the end the series should be decided by the goalies. The Cataractes Michaud is still feeling the effects of his mediocre performances at the end of the season. He was better against Drummondville but needs to play with more confidence and more consistency. Victoriaville’s goalie Daniel Boisclair can get the job done but he’s not the same calibre goalie as Michaud. However anything can happen in the playoffs.
Shawinigan will be without Jason Pominville for another series. He’s recovering from a broken leg and is expected to start skating on April 29 pending the Sabres approval. He was the top scorer for the Cats this season and his linemate Bellemare is not the same without him.