Did you really think that this was going to be another sweep?! The second round of the QMJHL sees the Junior de Montreal facing a much tougher opponent in the Lewiston MAINEiacs. Lewiston ended the regular season 8th overall in the QMJHL and is a fast skating physical team. They also have the league’s top scorer, Etienne Brodeur (53 goals), on their roster. Though Montreal defeated Lewiston in each of their previous four meetings you knew this was a streak that would come to an end. I just did not expect it
Montreal, who has suffered through injury after injury this season, is fairly healthy with only Viktor Hertzberg (concussion – 3rd of season) out of the lineup. Jean-Christophe Laflamme (concussion) was back in the lineup and playing on the 4th line with Matt Provost and Philippe Fontaine. Having Laflamme play on the 4th line shows the depth of the Montreal team as he is quite a good offensive player. Another slight change in the lineup was the creation of a new 1st line with Louis-Marc Aubry taking over at the centre position from Louis Leblanc, who was now playing wing with Nicolas Chouinard. Leblanc did not do well in the face off circle in game number one, so Coach Pascal Vincent made the move to help him out.
I don’t know how the Junior could top the opening game of the best of seven series that took place last Friday. They went into the 3rd period of that game down 4-2 and managed to come all the way back to tie it 5-5 then David Rose scored the winning goal for the home side in overtime. Phew! Cause going down 0-1 at home would have been tough.
Montreal came out strong and scored on their fourth shot on net. It was a power play goal at 3:57 by Charles-Olivier Roussel, who sometimes plays forward on the power play. He showed some soft hands for a defenceman going roof daddy on his shot from in close. Though it was a good start for Montreal it soon became the Olivier Dame-Malka show.
Malka is a defender who reminds me a lot of former Hab Marc-André Bergeron. Not especially tall (5’10”) or big (185 pounds), but the guy has a laser beam for a shot. It really is NHL calibre and he hits the net more often than he misses it. After Jérémy Gouchie had put Montreal back up 2-1 midway through the 2nd period, Dame-Malka took over. His first blast from the point on a power play with only 0:19 seconds remaining in the 2nd tied the game once again.
Despite the tough loss in the first game the MAINEiacs seemed to have learned their lesson and when they went into the 3rd period tied 2-2 they were the aggressors as they really took the game to the Junior. After an early penalty to Alex Zafiris in which Lewiston goaltender Nicolas Champion had to make some big saves to keep the game tied it was all MAINEiacs.
Dame-Malka scored two more goals in less than two minutes in the 3rd period that were carbon copies of his first two and that broke the back of the home team. Montreal did not really threaten the Lewiston net after and it really just became silly time as both teams lost their cool. Montreal’s Raphaël Pouliot was just going around the ice looking for someone to fight whenever he was on and at the same time Pierre-Olivier Morin, who was sporting a full cage, was getting under the skin of anyone in a white uniform. The sin bin was filled for most of the rest of the game.
Lewiston added another power play goal by super pest Pierre-Olivier Morin and an empty net one by Antoine Houde-Caron to make this a rout. The two teams will now be heading to Lewiston to play the third game with the series tied at one game apiece.
It was a bit of shocker that the Junior lost this badly. Not that I assumed that they would sweep the series because Lewiston is a good team, but I expected each game to be a tight one. Montreal did pay a heavy price for their lack of discipline as Lewiston scored 4 power play goals (out of 10 opportunities). This was Lewiston’s first victory over Montreal this season and it was a big one.
-On-Ice Officials: Referees: Dominick Bédard and Francois Fortin
Linesmen: Sylvain Losier and Benoit Martineau
-Goals: 1st Period:
3:57: Montreal – (pp) Charles-Olivier Roussel assisted by David Rose and Nicolas Chouinard
13:05: Lewiston – (pp) Olivier-Dame Malka assisted by Michael Chaput and Kirill Kabanov
9:09: Montreal – Jérémy Gouchie assisted by Charles Landry and Philippe Lefebvre
19:41: Lewiston – (pp) Olivier-Dame Malka assisted by Samuel Carrier and Nicolas Champion
12:23: Lewiston – Olivier-Dame Malka assisted by Dillon Fournier and Pierre-Olivier Morin
14:12: Lewiston – (pp) Olivier-Dame Malka assisted by Samuel Carrier and Kirill Kabanov
17:40: Lewiston – (en) Antoine Houde-Caron assisted by Samuel Carrier
19:50: Lewiston – (pp) Pierre-Olivier Morin assisted by Michael Chaput and Olivier-Dame Malka
-Shots on Goal: Montreal: 34
-3 Stars: 1) Olivier-Dame Malka – Lewiston
2) Nicolas Champion – Lewiston
3) Kirill Kabanov – Lewiston
-Final Score: Montreal: 2