Everything is relative and even though the Junior de Montreal have been within the top five of the Canadian Hockey League cross Canada rankings for most of the season their recent late season stumble has raised some eyebrows. It is only three games, but for this strong a team any sign of weakness is magnified.
Montreal is going through a rough spell as they have lost 3 games in a row. Only getting 2 out of a possible 6 points over that period. They started off on the road by losing to two teams that they shouldn’t have and then by losing in overtime to Drummondville last Friday night. The Drummondville game was the toughest to swallow as they were at home, where they have a great record, and then carried a 2-0 lead into the last 4 minutes. Just like that Drummondville scored two goals in the last few minutes of the game to tie it up and went on to win the game in overtime. A loss like that can be spirit crushing for some.
The Junior have only four regular season games remaining with two at home and two on the road. For the first of those games, it would seem like just what the doctor ordered for them to play the weak Baie Comeau Drakkars. Baie Comeau is having a bad season with only 33 points and a horrible record. On the surface they should be the perfect team to get Montreal out of any funk they are going through, but that is why you have to play the games.
Montreal put themselves in a precarious position in the 1st period. At 4:52 both Charles Landry (roughing) and David Rose (unsportsmanlike conduct) were assessed minor penalties. Baie Comeau would have a two minute 5-on-3 man advantage. Using some strong penalty killing, Montreal escaped without a goal against and when the two players came out of the penalty box Jérémy Gouchie pushed the puck ahead to David Rose and he and Landry found themselves on a 2-on-0 breakaway.
Despite being hacked at from behind Rose was able to deke out Simon Giroux (the Drakkars back up, who got the start) and put his team up 1-0. This penalty kill plus the goal seemed to give the Junior the shot of confidence they needed. They dominated the game completely from that point on.
Starting with the team’s second goal at 12:19 on a power play by the team’s leading goal scorer, Trevor Parkes (his 30th), over the next 9 minutes they scored 6 goals (another by Parkes, Dylan Anderson, Philippe Lefebvre, Nicolas Chouinard, and Raphaël Pouliot). By the 1:37 mark of the 2nd period the Junior was up by a touchdown, 7-0, and for all intents and purposes the game was over after only 22 minutes.
That meant that the last 38 minutes were just ones that had to be played out. Junior coach Pascal Vincent was not interested in rubbing salt in the Baie Comeau wounds, so 3rd and 4th line players got more minutes than usual and even some time on the subsequent power plays.
In front of plenty of NHL scouts the Junior were completely dominant. It was 5-0 after the 1st period, but while goaltender Giroux did not look great on the Anderson goal (his 10th of the season), he made several good saves so the score could have been higher. That plus they pretty much stopped playing over the last 20 minutes. Total domination as they notched 3 power play goals, killed off a 2 minute 5-on-3, killed off a 4 minute penalty, only allowed 13 shots against, and scored a shorthanded goal.
Important win as Montreal wants to stay in 2nd place overall in the QMJHL ahead of the Quebec Remparts. Montreal now has 98 points in 65 games whereas Quebec has 96 in 66 games. The Junior have a game in hand, so what place they end up in is in their own hands. Win out the season and Montreal faces Halifax in the 1st round of the playoffs.
Montreal’s next home game (their last of the season) is Thursday night versus Rimouski.
-On-Ice Officials: Referees: Eric Charron and Frédéric Leblanc
Linesmen: Serge Carpentier and Yannick Massé
-Goals: 1st Period:
6:59 – Montreal – David Rose assisted by Jérémy Gouchie
12:19 – Montreal – (pp) Trevor Parkes assisted by Viktor Hertzberg and Francis Meilleur
12:43 – Montreal – Dylan Anderson assisted by Charles-Olivier Roussel and Raphaël Pouliot
14:38 – Montreal – (sh) Nicolas Chouinard assisted by Charles Landry
18:11 – Montreal – (pp) Trevor Parkes assisted by Louis Leblanc and Francis Meilleur
0:20 – Montreal – Philippe Lefebvre assisted by Francis Meilleur and Nicolas Chouinard
1:37 – Montreal – Raphaël Pouliot assisted by Nicolas Chouinard and Charles-Olivier Roussel
-Shots on Goal: Montreal: 33
Baie Comeau: 13
-3 Stars: 1) Trevor Parkes – Montreal
2) Francis Meilleur – Montreal
3) Nicolas Chouinard – Montreal
-Final Score: Montreal: 7
Baie Comeau: 0