The Montreal Juniors may not have been very congenial hosts Friday night, but they were one fine hockey team. On a night when the organization honoured Hockey Hall of Famer Patrick Roy, the Juniors handed Roy's Quebec Remparts their worst loss of the season and chased both of his sons (goalie Jonathan and centre Frédérick) from the game. To add insult to injury, the Juniors shellacked the Remparts 8-2 despite being outshot 47-35.
Playing in front of a sold-out Verdun Auditorium, the teams opened with an entertaining first period. Montreal goalie Jake Allen had to make a few stellar saves to keep things even, but he was more than equal to the task and the teams headed into the first intermission all tied up at one, former Rempart Angelo Esposito having traded goals with David Gilbert.
Things got messy fast for the Remparts in the second. The Juniors came out flying and Nick Layton, the game's first star, scored twice in the first four minutes of the period to give the home team a 3-1 lead. Esposito added his second power play marker of the night with a little over four minutes to go in the period.
Less than minute and a half later Juniors captain Matt Fillier made no mistake when the Remparts left him alone in the slot, converting a nice pass from Matthew Brenton to make it 5-1. Brenton did some excellent work along the boards and in the corner to set up the play, but the remarkable thing about the goal was that, seconds before, Fillier had been flat on the ice at the Montreal blue line having taken a puck off the visor. It's not entirely certain Fillier will remember his seventh goal of the season, but it was a beauty.
The period ended with Montreal centre Luke Adam blowing by defender Samuel Carrier at the Quebec blue line and streaking in all alone on Jonathan Roy. He wasn't able to convert, but the play was an indication that the big Newfoundlander, who hasn't been playing with his usual flair and power of late, may be back to his old self. Good news for the Juniors, not so much for their opponents.
The third period saw Charles Lavigne between the pipes for the visitors, but it was six of one, half a dozen of another on this night. Layton completed his hat trick at 6:05 with the Juniors on the power play. Pier-Antoine Dion made it 7-1 two minutes later. Silliness soon ensued as the Remparts, who had been playing a physical game all night, realized that the game was out of reach and started "sending a message". Things culminated with Frédérick Roy, who had already taken a five minute major in the second, earning a game misconduct for cross checking Vincent Bourgeois, another former Rempart, in the face. When the teams got back to playing hockey Angelo Esposito completed his hat trick after Quebec captain Kevin Marshall had beaten Allen with a "cannonading" blast from the point with the Remparts on the power play.
This was a night that could have gone horribly wrong for the Juniors. They could have been intimidated by the large, loud crowd that was there in part to pay homage to the opposing coach. They were facing a team that went into the game in fourth place in the league, one that boasts no fewer than eight NHL draftees in its lineup and one which would want to do well for its coach on a special night.
Instead of cowering, the Juniors came out firing on all cylinders. They were fast, smart and, lead by their defense corps, just a little ornery. Buffalo draft pick T.J. Brennan had an especially large burr under his saddle. The team played a physical but clean game and took full advantage of Quebec's lack of discipline, going 4 for 9 on the power play. They took the play to the Remparts right up to the final whistle, not falling into a defensive shell and relying on Allen protect their lead as they sometimes do. From back to front, the Juniors were by far the better team on this night and the win was richly deserved.
The team's schedule is relatively light for the next couple of weeks. Their next game isn't until Friday, November 28th in Val D'Or. They play Rouyn-Noranda on Saturday and then have a week off before hosting the Gatineau Olympiques at 4pm on December 6th.
There were four Buffalo draft picks in the game, two for each team. The Sabres scout in Section 11 had to be pleased with what he saw from prospects Luke Adam and T.J. Brennan.
Former Rempart Ben Rubin renewed acquaintances with Quebec captain Kevin Marshall during a second period scrum. Hard to tell what was being said, but it didn't look like they were making plans to get together for a pop.
Yikes! The first Santa hat of the season was spotted in last night's crowd. If there's not a rule against wearing Santa hats in public before American Thanksgiving, there ought to be.
One wonders if the roar of last night's sell-out crowd scared the little players in the Rousseau Mini-Match that was played after the first period.
Etiquette is sorely lacking at hockey games these days. Some fans missed Nick Layton's early second period goal because others were still making their way to their seats and blocked their view. It's not complicated folks: if you can't be in your seat at the start of the period, you wait for a stoppage in play to go sit down.
Two players tied for the Golden Ice Bag Award. Captain Matt Fillier earns a mention for taking a puck in the visor and scoring on the same shift. Defenseman Vincent Bourgeois shares the title for coming back after being crossed check in the face.
All Roy, all the time: In addition to coach Patrick Roy, goalie Jonathan Roy and centre Frédérick Roy, the Remparts have a defenseman named Frédérick Roy-Coté. Fortunately for the Quebec play-by-play announcers, the latter only uses Coté on his jersey. (He was a healthy scratch for last night's contest.)
1) Nick Layton, Montreal
2) Angelo Esposito, Montreal
3) Jake Allen, Montreal
Shots on Goal:
Quebec: 15 + 20 + 12 = 47
Montreal: 13 +13 + 9 = 35
Referees: Dominick Bédard, Mathieu Côté
Linesman: Serge Carpentier, Shane Black
Montreal – Angelo Esposito (8) (Dmitri Kostromitin, T.J. Brennan) (pp) 15:55
Quebec – David Gilbert (5) (Mikhail Stefanovich, Mikael Tam) 18:25
Montreal – Nick Layton (7) (Toni Ritter, Angelo Esposito) 00:33
Montreal – Nick Layton (8) (T.J. Brennan, Toni Ritter) 03:51
Montreal – Angelo Esposito (9) (Dmitri Kostromitin, T.J. Brennan) (pp) 15:38
Montreal – Matt Fillier (7) (Matthew Brenton) 16:52
Montreal – Nick Layton (9) (Luke Adam) (pp) 06:05
Montreal – Pier-Antoine Dion (8) (Chris Thorne) 08:16
Quebec – Kevin Marshall (5) (Kelsey Tessier, Dmitri Kugryshev) (pp) 09:41
Montreal – Angelo Esposito (10) (Nick Layton, Toni Ritter) (pp) 11:21