“He's a guy who wants to play hockey”: Rafaël Harvey-Pinard dominates since his return with the Rocket

“He’s a guy who wants to play hockey: Rafaël Harvey- Pinard dominates since his return with the Rocket


Whether he plays in the American League or the National League, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard manages to get people talking about him. The attacker gives the same performance and even more.

The Quebec forward has been a spark since his return with the Laval Rocket. Against Wilkes-Barre, he scored the first goal of the game, giving a good dose of confidence to his team which is fighting for a place in the playoffs. Then, Wednesday against Toronto, he was instrumental in five of the Rocket's six goals. Hard to ask for better. 

A performance that does not surprise his coach, Jean-François Houle. 

“He's the same player, but there he plays with a lot of confidence. He is an avid player. He could have got himself shot and played the baboune. It didn't, he said. He is a guy who wants to play hockey and all he wants is to help us.

“What I see is not a surprise because he is like that and that he's always always played that way.”

His linemates, Anthony Richard and Mitchell Stephens, have benefited from the return of Harvey-Pinard. Richard had a four-point night, with Stephens scoring two goals in the win against Toronto. 

“I've always enjoyed it, playing with him,” said Richard, who is the the Rocket's leading scorer. It's really easy to play with him. He is always positive. He cuts plays and he relaunches the attack immediately.

Help needed

The returns of Harvey-Pinard and Jesse Ylonen came at the right time for the Rocket. For several weeks, the attack had difficulty finding the back of the net. 

“We had trouble scoring goals,” said Richard. On offense, we had several players who were very good defensively, but with fewer offensive touches. The arrival of these players takes the pressure off Peter Abbandonato or Joël Teasdale. 

“It helped us rebalance our lines. If the other teams want to neutralize us, we have other lines that can do the job. It changes a team to have several lines that can produce.”

News from Primeau

Speaking of character, Cayden Primeau has once again proven that he can recover from poor performance. After stumbling against Cleveland (five goals on 33 shots), the goaltender has just delivered two solid performances, while his team fights for a place in the playoffs. 

Primeau cleared Wilkes-Barre thanks to 41 stops, Monday. Then, on Wednesday, he stopped 39 of 42 shots he faced in a big win over Toronto. He seems to be regaining his confidence from last year's playoffs. 

However, it is his consistency that is still lacking in his case. Sometimes excellent, sometimes ordinary. One wonders if he will be able to have a season without big wave dips. A file to follow.