Everything could have changed in the third period. After a great end to the season and eleven successes in the last fourteen regular season matches, Cergy-Pontoise has had difficulty prolonging its good form. Faced with Gap, an opponent they had already beaten three times in four games this year, the Jokers struggled. They won 6-5 after extra time, despite the resilience of Gap.
Jonathan Paredes’ men started the game well with two early goals. Samuel Salonen scored in the third minute, before doing it again in the fifth (2-0). Cergy-Pontoise enjoyed scoring their goals in sets of two. While Gap equalized at 2-2 at the start of the second period, Théo Gueurif then Paul Schmitt planted once each 55 seconds apart (4-2, 28th and 29th).
Everything has changed
Louis Petit widened the gap shortly after (5-2, 37th). Despite the reduction in the score of Gapençais Egor Gainetdinov in the following seconds, Cergy-Pontoise stayed the course (5-3). Before everything changed in the last period. Chad Langlais (48th) then Julien Correia (52nd) allowed theirs to snatch an extension, synonymous with sudden death (5-5).
The two teams had ten minutes to decide, otherwise a penalty shootout would have declared the winner. It was not necessary to come to this, Anthony Rinaldi delivered Cergy-Pontoise three minutes after the start of extra time (6-5). The Arenice, full as an egg, could finally breathe.
The Cergyssois evolved without two of their major elements. Goalkeeper Sébastien Ylönen (ankle) and Canadian captain Patrick Coulombe. The latter is still convalescing after his jaw operation following a puck received in the face during a championship match on December 23.
Cergy maintains its ambitions
Two years after their rise in the Magnus League, the Jokers now have great ambitions. Semi-finalists in the play-offs last year, they only lost to future champions Grenoble (4-1). The objective is of course to do at least as well this year, and why not reach the final. “We want to thwart the forecasts, there have been surprises in the past. We have to grow a little more, match after match, ”confided Jonathan Paredes before the meeting against Gap.
An enthusiasm shared by defender Raphaël Faure. “As an athlete, the objective is to win titles or a cup. Our goal is to pass the first round. If we do the job, we will probably face Grenoble. Everything is possible in sports. “With this first victory against Gap, the Jokers have launched their adventure in the play-offs. Although it was difficult. In the series that will determine their future opponent, the Grenoble favorite, leader of the regular season, also struggled against Mulhouse (3-2 ap)