When the L/A Nordiques played the St. Louis Jr. Blues at the NA3HL Showcase in December, Alex Rivet was in the middle of his season at the Middlesex Prep before joining the Nordiques for the playoffs.

The Jr. Blues that day dominated on the scoreboard with a 6-0 victory.

Saturday evening in the NA3HL’s Fraser Cup semifinals at the Seven Bridges Arena in Woodridge, Illinois, Rivet was the X factor as his two goals including the overtime game winner gave the Nordiques a 3-2 victory to send them into the championship game Sunday at 2 p.m..

The Lewiston native scored 2:56 into the overtime session for his second goal of the game. There was a scramble in front of Jr. Blues’ goalie Mikael Faucher and Rivet was there to pick up the loose puck to end the contest.

“Words can’t really describe it,” Rivet said. “In that situation, when it’s the first time our team or anyone from our (division) has made it to the finals. How everyone has worked so hard, this is exactly our 50th win (regular season and playoffs) and (coach) Cam (Robichaud) came into the locker room and said ‘Let’s make it memorable.’ It’s the 98’s (birth year) last year of eligibility, let’s do it for them. (I am) a 2000 so I have two more years. It’s unbelievable to keep them going because I have played with these guys and they welcomed me in before the playoffs. It’s a brotherhood coming in as a new kid.”

Rivet was a late addition to the ice before the faceoff that led to the goal. Nordiques coach Cam Robichaud decided to take Zach Mullen off the Sergei Anisimov-Valeri Rykov line. Robichaud thought Rivet fit the makeup of the two Russians in the situation they were in..

“Their size, they are big, thick and rugged guys who will jump on pucks and bang,” Robichaud said. “Sergei is looking to screen the goaltender, Val is looking to protect the puck and get it to the net.”

Rivet gave the Nordiques a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes when he was hauled down and awarded a penalty shot with 6:51 remaining in the opening period. He capitalized by going to the backhand on Faucher.

“I think it was something that put a lot of pressure (on St. Louis), I wanted to get the boys on the board first,” Rivet said. “It was something really needed because I know the previous game where we lost to them 6-0 — I wasn’t apart of that — but they went up on us early in the first. I think it was big for us to get that first goal. I went to the net and drew the penalty shot.”

The Nordiques held the second period. Joe Bisson led a hit on a Jr. Blues player that made a dent into the boards with a 11 plus minutes remaining in the period. Play was stopped for 30 or so minutes as the rink crew made the repairs.

“The message to the team was: ‘We need to come out and win the eleven minutes and twenty-four seconds remaining in the second, after they delay, and be up going into the third,’” Robichaud said. “We did not do that, that eleven (minutes and) twenty-four, we got dominated to be honest with you. I did not like our compete level and I had some words to the team more to motivate them.”

St. Louis took the momentum from the stoppage as Matthew Monreal tied the game up at the 12:26 mark of the middle frame. Assists went to Jacob Wiethaupt and Dante Jones. It was Monreal’s fourth goal of the season against the Nordique,s as he had a hat trick in the game in December at the NA3HL showcase.

Robichaud knew Monreal was going to get his points, but thought the Sam Frechette-Kyle Secor-Connor Kennedy line did its job against the Blues’ top line.

“It was more of a defensive line,” Robichaud said. “Sam Frechette was fantastic again today and he was responsible, him and his linemates Kyle Secor and Connor Kennedy were responsible to shutting down their top line. I think they did well, as I mentioned earlier in the week, Frechette doesn’t always end up on the scoreboard, but he plays well in these big games and he did a great job again here today.”

The game went into overtime, partly because of Rivet. With the Nordiques up 2-1 late in the second period Rivet went to the box for high sticking. Ivan Galaguzov scored on the Blues power play with 2:51 remaining in the second period to tie the game up at two. Matthew Monreal had an assist along with Tom Yurisich on the play.

“The coaches they were on my side, no one harped on me, I thought that was the biggest thing,” Rivet said. “They kept me in the game. They said, ‘You’re going to get that one back.’ I had teammates come up to me in the locker room saying: ‘You’re going to get that one back.’ Fortunately I did. It’s a great feeling.”

There was no scoring in the third period, but Robichaud like they way his team battled in the third compared to the second half of the second period.

Anisimov gave the Nordiques the lead back two minutes later, with Valeri Rykov and Zach Mullen setting the goal up.

Andrew Ghimpeteanu made 43 saves for the Nordiques while Faucher made 42 saves for St. Louis.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: