This game was all about seeing what this team (Montreal) was made of. They were coming off two strong outings (1 win, 1 loss) and wanted to keep that string going. It is going to be a tough week for the Junior as they have four games in five nights, but an interesting week for the team and fans alike to see what the potential of this team really is.
The task is going to be a little more difficult due to the fact that robust winger Samuel Grenache is out with a shoulder injury and will probably need surgery, so the rest of the season is in doubt for this player. Other players are going to have to fill in the void he is leaving.
That is exactly what Chris Smith and his linemates (Louis-Marc Aubry and Benjamin Rubin) did. Every time they were on the ice they kept Acadie-Bathurst hemmed in their own end. These three guys seem to understand the value of hard work. Now, the rest of the team…excluding winger Matthew Brenton (I'm gonna start calling this guy the Energizer Bunny because he never quits nor does he back down from a bigger player) who worked his butt off all night.
Back to the fourth line…you know it is not a good sign when your fourth line is getting plenty of ice time (they even were the first wave during a power play in the third period – maybe a message to the offensive players on the team from Coach Vincent) and are your best line on the night. Not to disparage these players, but these three young men are not who you look to on this team to provide you with the offence. Unfortunately the offensive players (Esposito, Adam, Asselin) were for the most part invisible.
All this to say that this game was not the strong effort we were looking forward from the team. Now, I am a glass half full girl rather than half empty, so I look for positives even in a 4-0 loss. The positives were the above mentioned fourth line and the fact that defensively the team only allowed 12 shots against. More impressive was the fact that over the last two periods they only allowed Acadie-Bathurst to register 3 shots on goal. Now if they could only put the two parts of the game together then the Junior would reach their potential. The day that the offence works in union with the defence they will be a force to be reckoned with.
In actuality the Junior played badly for five minutes in the first period when Acadie-Bathurst, on goals by Eric Faille, Spencer Jezegou and two by Tomy Joly, built a 4-0 lead that stood up for the whole game. The victim in all this was Junior goaltender Jake Allen who was pulled after giving up 3 goals on 8 shots. Jean-François Bérubé came in and surrendered another one on his first shot.
Montreal did throw 39 shots at the Acadie-Bathurst net but goaltender Nicholas Champion stood tall and earned a shutout. There were plenty of shots but not a ton of quality scoring chances. Angelo Esposito came closest late in the third period when he rang one off the post.
This was not a great start to a busy week for Montreal. They just have to forget the game and come out with a good team effort on Friday against the P.E.I. Rockets.
-On-Ice Officials: Referee: Marc Muylaert
Linesmen: Bruno Forest, Stéfan Capano
-Goals: 1st Period:
10:45 – Acadie-Bathurst: (pp) Eric Faille assisted by Spencer Jezegou
12:57 – Acadie-Bathurst: Spencer Jezegou assisted by Eric Faille
14:26 – Acadie-Bathurst: Tomy Joly assisted by Brad Tesnik and Rémi Blanchard
15:31 – Acadie-Bathurst: Tomy Joly assisted by Eric Faille and Maxime Renaud
-Shots on Goal: Montreal: 39
-3 Stars (selected by Orcasound): 1) Eric Faille – Acadie-Bathurst
2) Nicholas Champion – Acadie-Bathurst
3) Chris Smith – Junior de Montreal