LAVAL – Rafaël Harvey-Pinard’s season is like a game of “find the seven mistakes”, of which the author did not understand the concept. The two designs are perfectly identical.
We tend to forget that, but the fiery number 11 of the Laval Rocket had started the year in neutral. Only one goal and four points in the first 13 games. Then things started to pick up in December, he caught fire in February and finished the season in first place on his team’s scorer chart.
Impression of déjà vu at the beginning of this series. Harvey-Pinard spent nine games unsuccessfully hitting the bottom of the net. Eventually he unlocked Game 2 of the Eastern Finals against the Springfield Thunderbirds. He hasn’t stopped scoring since then.
Harvey-Pinard scored in the fourth straight game on Saturday at Place Bell. His brace gave the Rockets a 2-0 lead in the mid-game. The cushion eventually deflated, but the “HP” inspired game remained a hot topic near the losers’ locker room.
“He has been good from the start of the playoffs, corrected his captain, Xavier Ouellet. I know people said he didn’t score, but he was playing well. Now he fits. Sometimes he is like that in hockey. He creates things, he gives us energy. He is constantly struggling and lately is being rewarded. It is to be hoped that he will continue to insert it. “
“If there’s one fix I’ve made, it might be bringing multiple drives to the network, RHP reflects. But beyond that, I kept the same identity. It is trust. I knew that scoring the first would unlock. I am more confident in my club, I play more and that helps. “
Hero of yesterday’s extra-time win, Harvey-Pinard launched hostilities during a power play midway through the first period. Having deprived the Thunderbirds of the ability to score quality with the help of a five-star defensive retreat, Jonquiérois himself returned to organize the Laval attack in enemy territory. Positioned between the faceoff circles, he deflected a Sami Niku shot behind goalkeeper Charlie Lindgren.
“He made a good play before scoring that goal. He crossed the track in length to raise an opponent’s stick, he wanted to quote his coach Jean-François Houle, impressed. He shows what he’s got in his stomach. Everyone looks at it and draws inspiration from it. “
He did it again in the middle of the second. While he was still wandering at the bottom of the fold, he jumped on the response of an Ouellet shot and redirected him into the blue paint. The puck bounced off defender Brady Lyle and bounced behind the goalkeeper.
His contribution also made itself felt on an understaffed unit that was fielded seven times and failed.
We wondered if we would see him again in extra time after seeing him make a violent check at the last minute of the third, but he was indeed in position for the sudden death to begin. He was at the center of his team’s defensive efforts even though we saw him limping back to the bench after multiple tough appearances.
“It’s been great since I’ve been here,” said Devante Smith-Pelly. The first time I saw him play it immediately made me think [Brendan Gallagher]. They are identical. They rush to the net, they stop at nothing. And without taking anything away from my good friend Gally, I think Raf is a little more talented than him. He is beautiful to watch and I hope what he is accomplishing in these series pushes him [vers le prochain niveau]. He was probably our best player. ”
Harvey-Pinard is in fact the hope of the Canadian, among all those who play with the Rocket, who seems closer to finding a niche with the big one. But he’s not what he’s thinking right now.
“It has been an important year for me. I have had great experiences. I played my first game in the National League, I dated guys from the NHL. Just being in the playoffs right now is incredible. And I don’t want it to end. I want this to continue as long as possible. “