Montreal found themselves playing another low ranked team in Val D'Or, but they were hoping for a different result from their last game when they lost to last place Halifax Moosehead 3-2. It would be a good test to see if they can play at the level they're capable of rather than down to Val D'Or's. This is a problem which has plagued them all season long and has lost them many precious points. It seems like no one, including themselves and Coach Vincent, has a solution to the problem either.
The Junior had some lineup changes going into this one. Forward Toni Ritter, who injured his shoulder against Halifax and had surgery this week, was out. He will be out of the lineup for a while so Philippe Fontaine would be taking his place. This was Fontaine's first game in front of the hometown fans. He found himself on the fourth line with the also back in the lineup Darick Ste-Marie and Louis-Marc Aubry.
The game did not start the way the Junior had hoped as T.J. Brennan was penalized at 0:41 for a tripping minor. It only took Val D'Or 6 seconds to capitalize with defenceman Marco Scandella ripping a shot from the point past Junior goaltender Jake Allen. Val D'Or also scored the second goal of the game courtesy of Jonathan Hazen at 8:36. Montreal was down 2-0 at home once again.
Val D'Or was playing very well and the Junior had no intensity to their game. There was little to no flow offensively to the Junior game as they seemed content to stay on the outside in the Foreurs zone. This resulted in very little pressure exerted on the Foreurs defence. The Junior did outshoot their opposition 17-11 in the 1st period, but most of the shots were from the outside.
Down 2-0, I'm sure the Junior wanted to start off the 2nd period off strong, but Jake Allen let in a weak goal by Hazen (his second of the game) at 0:21. This prompted Coach Vincent to replace Allen with backup Bérubé. This certainly was not one of Allen's stronger games and one has to wonder if the long season was finally getting to him. It seemed as if he was a little tired.
Montreal did scratch their way back into the game with two quick goals by Angelo Esposito (his 22nd of the year) and Alex Wall off a nice setup by Philippe Fontaine. Unfortunately the momentum the Junior had built up disappeared due to them taking four back-to-back penalties.
Hopes of a comeback were dashed when Val D'Or scored it's fourth goal (another weak one) at 10:35 of the 3rd period. The Junior did exert immense pressure on the Foreurs during a ensuing power play, but could not score. Desperate, Montreal pulled their goalie with 1:45 to go in the 3rd, but Val D'Or sealed the loss with an empty net goal by Guérette-Charland.
One player, besides goaltender Allen, who had a bad game was forward Luke Adam. He has looked like a player lost in recent contests. Making bad plays and looking frustrated often. Not good signs from a player that was drafted last season by the Buffalo Sabres. He is expected to be an offensive force for the team and has blown hot and cold all season. On several occasions it even looks like he has given up during games. Adam really needs to be reminded that his future is not guaranteed and that nothing replaces hard work. The talent is there he just has to rediscover his heart. Time to grow up and be the leader his team so desperately needs!
The game left all Junior de Montreal fans with many questions. Why do they regularly lose to weaker teams? Is the team tired? Where is there heart? Character? Leadership? Another 5-2 loss by the Junior against a lower ranked team. Points they desperately need coming up to the playoffs gone. These will not be simple questions for the team and Coach Vincent to answer and here's to hoping that they can. And quickly.
-On-Ice Officials: Referee: Nicolas Dutil
Linesmen: Harold Dorvil and Shane Black
-Goals: 1st Period:
0:47 – Val D'Or – (pp) Marco Scandella assisted by Derek Famulare and Maxime Sauvé
8:36 – Val D'Or – Cédric Henley assisted by Jean-Francois Caron and Jonathan Hazen
0:21 – Val D'Or – Jonathan Hazen assisted by Maxime Sauvé
2:11 – Montreal – (pp) Angelo Esposito assisted by T.J. Brennan and Luke Adam
5:05 – Monteal – Alex Wall assisted by Philippe Fontaine and Matthew Brenton
10:38 – Val D'Or – Samuel Morneau assisted by Alexandre Monahan
18:23 – Val D'Or – Kevin Guérrette-Charland assisted by Marco Scandella
-Shots on Goal: Montreal: 41
Val D'Or: 32
-3 Stars: 1) Raffaele D'Orso – Val D'Or
2) Jonathan Hazen – Val D'Or
3) Angelo Espositio – Montreal