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Olympiques take advantage of day off after loss before Monday's game

KITCHENER, Ont. - The Gatineau Olympiques will have to wait until Monday night before their second crack at a Memorial Cup game, but that's fine with head coach Benoit Groulx.

"Physically, it will be beneficial," Groulx said Saturday, a day after his team lost 6-5 to the host Kitchener Rangers in the tournament's opening match.

"Any time you get the opportunity to play a game, take time off to care of small injuries, and take advantage of a good practice before your next match, it's good."

The Olympiques enjoyed a day off Saturday. After a media session at noon in Kitchener, the players were off to Toronto to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame and grab a meal at Wayne Gretzky's restaurant.

Groulx's team will be back on the ice Sunday to gear up for a tilt against the Belleville Bulls on Monday.

"Belleville won three games (out of seven) against Kitchener in the (OHL) final, so we know it won't be easy," said Claude Giroux, Gatineau's star forward.

Groulx said there's no danger of his players dwelling on the loss.

"We have to quickly forget and get to the next game following a big victory, and it's the same thing when we lose," Groulx said.

"I said at the beginning our objective was to improve along the way as the tournament advances, and that's what we have to do."

Groulx said the team made mistakes against the Rangers, but showed how good they can be.

"We now have to learn from that match," he said.

The Olympiques also have to win more one-on-one battles, the coach said.

"When you lose those battles all evening, like we did against Kitchener, you don't have the puck very often," he said.

"On the positive side, we came back from behind, but we shouldn't fool ourselves, during the first 40 minutes of play there was only one team on the ice."

Groulx was satisfied with Giroux's play, even though he was checked closely for most of the night. Giroux eventually set up the tying goal in the third period.

"He did a good job, even if he's the first to tell you he can do more," he said.

"You'll see a better player (Monday)."



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