This was a terrible time for the Junior de Montreal to go through a slump. Suddenly the team that finished 2nd overall in the QMJHL was having trouble scoring. Suddenly the team that filled the opposition’s net all season was clutching their sticks too tight and having trouble scoring. Suddenly the team that could use their skill and speed to overwhelm teams was having those tables turned on them.
As a result the Junior de Montreal found themselves on the brink of elimination down 3 games to 1 in the second round of the playoffs. After winning the first game of the series at home in overtime Montreal lost three games in a row. Something they rarely did during the regular season.
Maybe their confidence was shook after losing big 6-2 at home in game two. Maybe it was the crushing 2-1 defeat in Lewiston in game three when the MAINEiacs scored the winning goal with 5 seconds left. Whatever it was Montreal hasn’t looked like the invincible team in this series that it did all season. Was this the end of the season that had Memorial Cup aspirations for the Junior?
I’m sure doubts crept into the consciousness of even the most devote fan of the team when Lewiston’s Kirill Kabanov scored the game’s first goal at 8:54 of the 1st period. It was a power play goal and the usually dependable Montreal penalty killing was killing them. Ten of the Lewiston goals during the series have been scored while on the power play. Undisciplined play and the inability to kill off the resulting penalties have led to Montreal being one loss away from a long summer.
Thankfully even after Lewiston taking the lead in the game there was no white flag waving from the Montreal team. They scored the next goal. Trevor Parkes got his team back into it with his 6th goal of the playoffs. The packed Verdun Auditorium exploded with happiness and relief. Despite having tied up the game things did not get any easier for Montreal as they were being dominated in the face off circle. Most of the damage was done by Michael Chaput.
A lack of discipline struck again for Montreal. Charles-Olivier Roussel was assessed a four minute high sticking penalty and Jérémy Gouchie followed him into the box 43 seconds later giving Lewiston a 5-on-3 advantage. Olivier Dame-Malka did what he does best and that is wire a shot from the point past a helpless Jean-Francois Bérubé.
Then veteran Louis-Marc Aubry put the team on his shoulders and scored three goals. With Lewiston only managing to get one more beyond the strong Bérubé, Montreal seemed destined for a 4-3 regulation win. However, with only 1:15 left in the 3rd period Dame-Malka (who else) scored his 8th of the playoffs to tie the game.
We were going to overtime and you had to think that the late goal to tie the game had to place the momentum squarely on the MAINEiacs side. Well, Montreal showed their resilience by playing strongly from then on.
The 1st overtime period did not decide anything despite some good chances by Montreal. In the 1st overtime period Montreal dominated and outshot the MAINEiacs, but could not score. Despite their young ages there were some tired players out there after having disputed 80 minutes of intense playoff hockey. Thankfully the game did not go on much longer.
Early on in the 2nd overtime period Montreal dumped the puck deep into the Lewiston zone. Raphaël Pouliot did all the dirty work behind the net and then Nicolas Chouinard brought it out in front and had a chance of his own. Nicolas Champion stopped the first attempt, but Dylan Anderson made no mistake to win the game for his team. One of Montreal’s unsung heroes, Anderson, picked a very opportune time to score his first goal of the playoffs.
Montreal would live to fight another day! The series was now 3-2 for Lewiston and returning to Maine for game six.
-On-Ice Officials: Referees: Frédéric Leblanc and Marc Muylaert
Linesmen: Serge Carpentier and Yannick Massé
-Goals: 1st Period:
8:54: Lewiston – (pp) Kirill Kabanov assisted by Michael Chaput and Samuel Carrier
10:24: Montreal – Trevor Parkes assisted by Jonathan Narbonne and Jérémy Gouchie
13:07: Lewiston – (pp) Olivier Dame-Malka assisted by Michael Chaput and Kirill Kabanov
1:36: Montreal – (pp) Louis-Marc Aubry assisted by Charles-Olivier Roussel and Louis Leblanc
12:47: Montreal – Louis-Marc Aubry assisted by Jean-Laurence Beauchemin and David Rose
9:24: Lewiston – Michael Chaput assisted by Nicholas Champion and Kirill Kabanov
14:19: Montreal – Louis-Marc Aubry assisted by David Rose and Charles-Olivier Roussel
18:45: Lewiston – Olivier Dame-Malka assisted by Michael Chaput
1:37: Montreal – Dylan Anderson assisted by Nicolas Chouinard and Raphaël Pouliot
-Shots on Goal: Montreal: 36
-3 Stars: 1) Louis-Marc Aubry – Montreal
2) Louis Leblanc – Montreal
3) Jean-Francois Bérubé – Montreal
-Final Score: Montreal: 5