<b>Montreal Juniors Vs. Quebec Remparts</b>
Montreal, Saturday, September 20, 2008. The <a href=“http://www.juniordemontre...n-1.htm">Montreal
Juniors</a> officially embarked on their journey as the ‘new kids on the block’ in the QMJHL on Saturday night, as they made their home debut facing-off against Patrick Roy and his Quebec Remparts.
Playing to a near capacity crowd of 3,780 at the Verdun Auditorium, including a few Q veterans in Maxim Lapierre and Guillaume Latendresse of the Montreal Canadiens, the Juniors lost a hard-fought battle with the Remparts, <a href=“http://www.lhjmq.qc.ca/la...92">3-2</a>
. The Juniors, who are replacing the <a href=“http://www.lhjmq.qc.ca/la...mp;id_equipe=37">
Fog Devils</a>, were looking to build on their 1-1 record heading into Saturday’s action and to avenge their season opening loss to the Remparts.
Remparts 3 - Montreal Juniors 2</a></b>
Montreal played a strong game from start to finish and, were it not for a few bounces that did not go their way, deserved to win the game. Montreal netminder Jean-François Bérubé faced a lot of pressure from the Remparts, but held up well, making only one real mistake, attempting to play a puck with his glove instead of his stick, which led to a first period goal by Jean Sebastien Allard. Bérubé stopped 30 of 33 shots in the loss, but made some very spectacular saves to keep his Junior team-mates in it.
Despite falling behind 1-0 at the end of the first period, the Juniors stormed out in the second and were able to notch a power play goal when Benjamin Rubin completed a nifty passing play, slipping the puck between Quebec Remparts goalie, JF Roy, to tie the game at 1. The score remained even until mid-way through the 3rd period when penalites began to catch up to the Juniors. Perhaps it was the underlying tensions of playing the very first home game in franchise history, but the Juniors came out strong, playing the body and skating very hard. Perhaps too much so.
Quebec took advantage of the penalties taken by Montreal in the 3rd as Jonathan Marchessault got a lucky bounce on Bérubé’s door step, shoving home a jumping puck to give the Remparts a 2-1 lead. The lucky goal gave the Remparts a boost while seemingly deflating the Juniors spirits. Montreal went on to show a little fatigue as they continued to take penalties. Remparts coach, Patrick Roy, made sure to get his best power play unit on the ice and was rewarded as another bouncing puck found its way between Bérubé’s legs, scored by Sebastien Trudeau, with just under 5 minutes to play.
Montreal responded instantly as Mathieu Lavoie was able to fire home a low snapper, fooling J.F. Roy and giving the Juniors a breathe of life in the final minute of the game. Unfortunately for the Juniors it was too little, too late, as time expired as they made their final attempt.
Although the Juniors did not walk away with a win in their first attempt on home ice, they proved to their fans that they are going to be a very fast and exciting team. Montreal will get reinforcements in the next few weeks as their NHL prospects begin to return from their respective camps, boosting Montreal’s depth and talent level.
<b>Juniors Collect First 2 Points on the Road</b>
Montreal started the season on the road against Roy and his Remparts on September 9th, losing their actual season opener in Quebec City, <a href=“http://www.lhjmq.qc.ca/la...92">5-1</a>
. In front of a capacity crowd at the Colisée Pepsi, Montreal seemed gun-shy in their opening battle with the Remparts and were unable to mount a consistent, solid attack. Nick Layton scored the Juniors only goal with less than 7 minutes remaining in the third as the Remparts took apart a nervous Montreal team.
Montreal bounced back a few nights later when they took on the Shawinigan Cataractes, September 14th, at the Aréna Jacques-Plante in Shawinigan. The Juniors once again found their flair for the offensive as they broke open a 2-2 tie early in the 3rd period with another goal from Nick Layton. Layton went on too add 3 more assists, while Pier-Antoine Dion notched 2 goals and an assist as the Juniors racked up 4 more goals on their way to a <a href=“http://www.lhjmq.qc.ca/la...05">6-4</a>
win over a feisty Cataractes club that challenged Montreal netminder Jean-François Bérubé all game long. Despite allowing 4 goals in the game, Bérubé played a major role in the win, stopping 26 of 30 shots and allowing the Juniors the opportunity to earn their first victory of the season and in franchise history.
The season starts on somewhat of a question mark for the Juniors as they are missing 4 of their 5 NHL draft picks. All the Montreal Juniors’ NHL prospects are attending their respective training camps and will not likely be returning until the beginning of October, if they even return at all. Although this is the case, Montreal is counting on a full season with these valued prospects in the lineup as they look to make some noise in their first year in the Q. The team is extremely confident that they have an excellent core in place and that this will be a very good season for hockey in Montreal.
The one thing the Juniors proven tonight is that they want to compete with the best teams in the league. Having already played 2 games against the Remparts, and losing both times, expect the next meeting between these teams to be fierce as the Montreal-Quebec rivalry begins to heat up.
The Juniors will get no rest as they play their 2nd game in less than 24 hours, facing off against the Huskies from Rouyn-Noranda on Sunday afternoon at 4:30 pm at the Verdun Auditorium. You can listen to the games live on the Team 990 or on CKAC 730.
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