Some people just get it. Two examples of that were on display at the Junior game on Sunday afternoon. A team of tiny tot players came out with the Junior team just before the game and stood with them on the blue line for the national anthem. Veteran Pier-Antoine Dion made the young hockey players feel special by grouping them around him. They all had stars in their eyes. It was nice to see a young man who seems to understand what a big deal it is for the young guys. He definitely made some fans on this afternoon.
Also the organization honoured several players of the Canadian Olympic Sled Hockey team. They even gave a demonstration of the sport in between the 2nd and 3rd periods. The skill and toughness displayed by them was inspiring. Let me tell you they can add a few more fans to their bandwagon.
Right about now those who had doubts about the Luke Adams for Nicolas Chouinard trade are rethinking that. Chouinard so far has been giving the team as many points as Adams did, but tons more in regards of leadership. He not only leads on the ice, but is not afraid to take a player aside to talk to him. Having that type of player on your team is priceless.
Good players make those around them better as well and the Aubry-Chouinard-Sherbatov line is one that Coach Vincent has not tinkered with since they were put together as they are going quite strong. Each player brings something different to the line and that is why they work so well together. Another line that has being working well is the Dion-Thorne-Levasseur line which has become quite a heavy hitting, gritty one that keeps other teams honest and chips in a few goals as well.
Baie Comeau would be a very dangerous opponent for the Junior as they come into the game with a 2-5-1 record. It would be easy to take them lightly and play down to their level. They could also run the risk of thinking lowly of the Drakkar goaltender Simon Giroux, who would be coming into the game with a less than sparkling 9.14 G.A.A. Someone on the team would need to take charge and make sure that that didn't happen.
The man who did that was veteran (at the very young age of 17) Guillaume Asselin. It might be shocking to some that this player who made quite an impression on people during his rookie season at the ripe old age of 16. Due to the large turnover at the forward position many expected Asselin to be featured on the number one line. But Coach Vincent in all his wisdom decided that Guillaume Asselin fits in on the 3rd line and I would say it has been a success as he had 10 points in 8 games coming into Sunday's game. The success did not end in game 9.
Most of the game was of the fairly dull variety, but the Junior managed to do just enough to win the game. And really that is all that matters. As I said, right winger and sometimes pointman (on the power play – Coach Vincent is trying everything to give his anaemic power play a kick start) Guillaume Asselin sparked his team to a 3-0 victory as he had his hand in on every one of the Junior's goals.
After a fairly uneventful first 10 minutes of the 1st period, Drakkar goaltender Giroux made a huge goof behind his own net and gave the puck away to Asselin. He promptly fed Loic Poudrier who buried it behind the scrambling Giroux. Next up from the Asselin bag of tricks was scoring a goal himself after hitting the crossbar seconds before. His perseverance paid off and even after the goal was reviewed it was 2-0 midway through the 2nd period. The finale came at 9:49 of the 3rd period when Asselin scored his second of the game with helpers going to Loic Poudrier and Xavier Ouellet.
These are sometimes as hard games for the players to play as it is for us to watch. That being said, Jake Allen got his first shutout of the season and Guillaume Asselin got 2 goals and 1 assist. Defence partners Xavier Ouellet and Hubert Genest have quickly established themselves as the number one duo. Good things did come out of this rather dull game. And don't forget the 2 points for the win.
This part is for my mother who complained that my last column did not include the final score. Well, in case you didn't catch it before here it is: Junior de Montreal – 3 and Baie Comeau Drakkar – 0.
The Junior are now leaving on a two game road trip with their next home game being October 14th versus the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
-On Ice-Officials: Referees: Dominic Franc and Jonathan Trudel
Linesmen: Sylvain Losier and Stéfan Capano
-Goals: 1st Period:
13:55 – Montreal – Loic Poudrier assisted by Guillaume Asselin and Alex Wall
9:11 – Montreal – (pp) Guillaume Asselin assisted by Nicolas Chouinard and Hubert Genest
9:49 – Montreal – Guillaume Asselin assisted by Loic Poudrier and Xavier Ouellet
-Shots on Goal: Montreal: 31
Baie Comeau: 22
-3 Stars: 1) Guillaume Asselin – Montreal
2) Loic Poudrier – Montreal
3) Alex Wall – Montreal