You could accuse neither of these teams of being favoured by the QMJHL scheduler. Montreal was in the midst of the playing the three number one teams back-to-back-to-back and Quebec was playing their third game in 2 ½ days. On top of that Quebec's last two games (which they lost) had gone into shootouts. The young men on the Remparts must have come into this game dog tired.
Besides facing a tired opponent, Montreal was also catching a break in that they would not have to face the usual starting goaltender for Quebec, Peter Delmas, as he had fallen victim to the H1N1 flu. Starting in nets (as he did last game against the Junior) was backup Jean-Philippe Gagnon. His back up was the guy he barely beat out in training camp, Eric Bourdon.
The flu (not injury as I had previously reported) was also keeping Eliezer Sherbatov out of the Junior roster and joining him on the sidelines for the same reason was veteran Chris Thorne. Due to his late scratch the Junior would be playing one forward short during the game. On the good side of the game ledger for the Junior veteran defenceman David Stich was back in uniform after serving his two game suspension.
Despite their crazy schedule lately, the Remparts were the team that took control of the game during the opening 10 minutes. Jake Allen, recently back from the flu himself, was pummeled with shots and kept coming up with big save after big save. He robbed Remparts captain Kelsey Tessier from in close on a power play.
While at the other end of the rink, Gagnon was giving up big juicy rebounds. You would have to think that if he kept that up that the Junior was going to eventually take advantage of his lack of control. They would just have to focus and hone in on those rebounds. It finally happened when Louis-Marc Aubry (long time between goals for him) pounced on a rebound off a Pier-Antoine Dion shot. Despite being outshot and outplayed the Junior were up 1-0 at the 11 minute mark.
The goal seemed to deflate the Remparts as from that point on (when they were not killing off penalties) the Junior controlled the game. All the travel and play had caught up with the Remparts and their legs were like lead.
Montreal had a glorious chance to increase their led at the end of the 1st when Remparts Samuel Groulx got two minor penalties on the same shift. Despite having a 5-on-3 for a full 2 minutes the Junior could not score. To say their power play in unimaginative is an understatement. Every team knows that they just get it back to the point for the shot, so they crowd the point man and he can't get the shot off. They just end up passing the puck around the exterior and rarely getting a shot off. It is quite frustrating to watch. Stich being back should help them out a little with that as he has a wicked shot.
Continuing with their domination in the 2nd period the Junior struck for two goals from Dion (his 7th of the season) and on the power play (!!) by the QMJHL offensive player of the week, Trevor Parkes.
The third goal meant the end for Remparts goaltender Gagnon and Eric Bourdon came on in relief for his first career game. He wasn't as busy as Gagnon, but kept the Junior off the scoreboard. While he was in the net, anyways.
Desperate for goals, Remparts coach Patrick Roy made an unorthodox move at the end of the 2nd period and beginning of the 3rd. With a 2 man advantage Roy pulled his goaltender out for the 6th man. It was now 6-on-3, but the Junior had the advantage of being able to ice the puck (or shoot on the empty net) as they were killing a penalty.
Unorthodox or not his risk paid off, despite some huge saves by Jake Allen, when at the beginning of the 3rd period Marc-Olivier Vallerand got the Remparts on the board with a power play goal at 1:01. This goal, besides making the game closer, ended Montreal's 21 for 21 streak in regards to killing off penalties.
Whereas the Junior had been cruising along in complete control of the game after the Remparts scored again at the 8:53 mark it now was nail-biting time for the home team.
Lack of discipline has gotten the Junior into this position as they took too many penalties late in the 2nd and early in the 3rd periods. Oddly enough after calling a ton of penalties earlier in the game the referees put their whistles in their pockets for the last 10 minutes of the game. The outcome would be settled by the guys on the ice.
The game was now 3-2 for the home side, but it was the Quebec team, who should have been extremely tired, that seemed to have the step at the end of the game.
With 1:34 left on the clock Patrick Roy took another risk and called a time out then pulled his goaltender. Montreal's Parkes scored his 2nd goal of the game with the net empty, but that did not discourage Roy and he kept Bourdon on the bench. Not impressed with that move Aubry scored his 2nd of the game to make the final score 5-2.
Two first placed teams (Quebec and Gatineau, who Montreal defeated 4-2 last Friday evening) down and one to go as the Junior's next opponents will be the mighty Drummondville Voltigeurs.
-On-Ice Officials: Referees: Stephane Tremblay and Marc-Andre Lavoie
Linesmen: Bruno Forest and Benoit Vigeant-Sansoucy
-Goals: 1st Period:
11:12 – Montreal – Louis-Marc Aubry assisted by Pier-Antoine Dion and Alex Wall
4:54 – Montreal – Pier-Antoine Dion assisted by Louis-Marc Aubry and Nicolas Chouinard
10:09 – Montreal – (pp) Trevor Parkes assisted by Alex Wall and Guillaume Asselin
1:01 – Quebec – (pp) Marc-Olivier Vellerand assisted by Danick Paquette and Ryan Bourque
8:53 – Quebec – Ryan Bourque assisted by Marc-Olivier Vellerand
18:35 – Montreal – (en) Trevor Parkes assisted by David Stich and Matthew Brenton
19:23 – Montreal – (en) Louis-Marc Aubry unassisted
-Shots on Goal: Montreal: 39
-3 Stars: 1) Pier-Antoine Dion – Montreal
2) Jake Allen – Montreal
3) Marc-Olivier Vellerand – Quebec
-Final Score : Montreal: 5