Luca Cunti's first Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season has been a roller coaster, and it reached its highest point so far on Sunday afternoon.
Luca Cunti scored twice in the final 19 seconds of the second period to complete his first QMJHL hat trick and propel the Rimouski Oceanic to a 8-4 win over the Saint John Sea Dogs.
Cunti, drafted 75th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2007, has been inconsistent in his first season. After netting three goals and nine assists in his first 11 games, the Swiss import was scoreless in his next six games and had only one goal and five assists in November before Sunday.
Up 1-0 after 20 minutes, Cunti's first goal ignited a nine-goal second period that saw Rimouski (19-10-0-0) and the Sea Dogs trade goals four times. Steven Anthony's second goal of the game, a power-play marker with four minutes remaining, gave Saint John (17-13-1-1) its first and only lead, which held until Cunti's late-period outburst.
Jordan Caron opened the scoring on a first-period power play and added another goal midway through the second. Patrick Delisle-Houde had a goal and two assists, while Patrice Cormier and Frederic Desrochers also scored for the Oceanic. Felix Lefrancois and Sebastien Piche both had three assists.
Elsewhere in the QMJHL, it was: Acadie-Bathurst 6, Halifax 4; Moncton 3, P.E.I. 1; Shawinigan 7, Baie-Comeau 3; Gatineau 5, Chicoutimi 3; and Victoriaville 4, Lewiston 1.
At Rimouski, Que., Pascal Amyot and Michael Kirkpatrick, with his 20th marker of the season, added goals for the Sea Dogs.
Maxim Gougeon made 23 saves for the Oceanic, while Saint John netminder Robert Mayer stopped 33 shots.
Titan 6, Mooseheads 4
At Halifax, Spencer Jezegou scored and added three assists as Acadie-Bathurst stormed back to beat the Mooseheads.
Eric Faille scored twice, Maxime Renaud had a goal and two assists, Vincent Couture added a goal and an assist, and Tomy Joly also scored for the Titan (12-14-4-2), who scored three goals in the final six minutes of the game to earn the win.
Travis Randell, Chad Earle, Gabriel Desjardins and Matthew Snow replied for Halifax (9-19-1-1).
Wildcats 3, Rocket 1
At Moncton, Randy Cameron's power-play goal seven minutes into the second period stood up as the game-winner in a tight contest between the Wildcats and P.E.I.
Simon Jodoin opened the scoring less than a minute into the game and Matt Eagles added an empty-netter for Moncton (21-2-2-2).
Brandon Street scored the lone goal for the Rocket (11-15-1-4), who have lost four straight.
Cataractes 7, Drakkar 3
At Shawinigan, Que., Charles-Olivier Roussel scored twice and added an assist as the Cataractes downed Baie-Comeau to win their 14th straight home game.
Nicholas Petersen added a pair, while Adam Bourque-Leblanc, Pierre-Alexandre Vandall and Ashton Bernard also scored for Shawinigan (24-5-0-0).
Michael Trudel had a goal and two assists, Gabriel Bourque had a goal and an assist, and Marc-Andre Laroche rounded out the scoring for the Drakkar (7-16-3-2).
Olympiques 5, Sagueneens 3
At Gatineau, Que., Paul Byron opened the scoring and closed it out to lead the Olympiques past Chicoutimi.
Byron also assisted on Alexandre Quesnel's second goal of the game, the game-winner midway through the third period. Christian Ouellet-Martel had the other goal for Gatineau (10-17-1-1).
Mathieu Populus, Antoine Roussel and Michal Hlinka found the net for the Sagueneens (11-14-1-2).
Tigres 4, Maineiacs 1
At Victoriaville, Que., Andrej Nestrasil had a hand in all of the Tigres' goals, scoring once and assisting on three as Victoriaville handled Lewiston.
Maxime Tanguay scored and added two assists, Joel Chouinard had a goal and an assist, and Olivier Hinse capped off the scoring for the Tigres (14-17-0-0).
Michael Chaput was the only scorer for the Maineiacs (11-18-0-0).