With the series tied 2-2 the fifth game was to be played in the Junior-friendly confines of the Verdun Auditorium. This was a great news for fans of the Junior de Montreal as all throughout the season they played much better at home. They are a completely different team at home playing with confidence and panache. Also, winning game five is usually a good sign in a seven game series as the winner of this game goes on to win the series most of the time. Simply put, this was to be a huge game.
For the first two periods, the sold out crowd kept looking and hoping for reasons to get excited. They were disappointed by what they saw as the game, for the most part, was a yawner. The loudest reactions out of the crowd was for the t-shirt giveaways during timeouts.
While the Junior totally dominated the game from possession and shots on goal points of view they only led the game by the slimmest of 1-0 scores thanks to a power play goal by the suddenly prolific scorer Toni Ritter (his 3rd of the playoffs) at 13:45 of the first period. They had several chances to score throughout the first two periods, including Matthew Brenton alone in front missing on a bang-bang play and captain Matt Fillier in alone on Huskie goaltender Mikael Audette, but hoisting his backhander over the crossbar. After a couple of these chances and the fact that the Junior were smothering the Huskies' defensively (only allowing them 10 shots through the first two periods), you had to wonder if all these missed chances would come back to haunt them.
I started off the third with an ominous feeling about the game and the Junior's chances. Boy, was I wrong! No sooner had the fans put their butts back in their seats after the 2nd period break than T.J. Brennan had wired a shot from the point beating Audette for a 2-0 lead. And that seemed to open the flood gates for goals for the Junior and the doors to the penalty box for both teams.
Shortly after the goal, Samuel Grenache squared off against Guillaume Tougas of the Huskies. This is was just one of many fights and penalties to come. Subsequently, Dmitri Kostromitin and Matt Fillier dropped their gloves against Jerome Gauthier-Leduc and Sergey Ostapchuk. All combatants were given game misconducts. By this time Jérémy Gouchie had given the Junior a 3-0 lead. Goals by Guillaume Asselin (two), Ritter (his second of the game) and Brennan (also his second of the game) soon followed.
The Junior had a convincing 7-0 win and a 3-2 lead in the series. It was a weird one with two boring periods and one that was just full of everything – 6 goals, 3 fights, 2 major penalties, 5 game misconducts, and 6 minor penalties. Never a dull moment. Despite all the ballyhoo in the third frame it has to be pointed out that the Junior played one of their stronger defensive games limiting the Huskies to only 15 shots on goal. That's total, folks! Junior goaltender Jake Allen was the beneficiary of one of the easiest shutouts known to man. Here's to hoping that they can bring their "A" defensive game on the road with them for game 6 in Rouyn-Noranda and finish off this series.
-On-Ice Officials: Referees: Marc Muylaert and Pascal St-Jacques
Linesmen: Bruno Forest and Stefan Capano
-Goals: 1st Period:
13:45 – Montreal – (pp) Toni Ritter assisted by Alex Wall
1:42 – Montreal – T.J. Brennan assisted by Pat O'Keefe and Matt Fillier
9:03 – Montreal – Jérémy Gouchie assisted by T.J. Brennan
11:26 – Montreal – (pp) Guillaume Asselin assisted by Louis-Marc Aubry
12:52 – Montreal – T.J. Brennan
14:53 – Montreal – (pp) Toni Ritter assisted by T.J. Brennan and David Foucher
15:33 – Montreal – (pp) Guillaume Asselin assisted by Chris Thorne
-Shots on Goal: Montreal: 36
-3 Stars: 1) T.J. Brennan – Montreal
2) Toni Ritter – Montreal
3) Jake Allen – Montreal