<b>NHL Prospects Return To Lead Juniors To Victory</b>
Opening the season at the Verdun Auditorium with 2 losses last weekend was not how the Montreal Juniors wanted to impress their new fans. Losing 3-2 to the Quebec Remparts and 4-2 to Rouyn-Noranda left the Juniors winless in their home debut and hungry to make their fans happy.
Enter the Saint John Sea Dogs.
Saint John came to town looking to continue the Juniors winless streak and make sure that the Montreal fans went home unhappy and hungry for a win. Unfortunately for the Sea Dogs, Montreal was primed and ready to face them, having welcomed back 4 of their 5 NHL draft picks this week.
Goaltender Jake Allen, forwards Matt Filier, Luke Adam and defenseman TJ Brennan all returned from their respective NHL camps in time for the Friday night contest versus Saint John and made an immediate impact.
<b>Montreal Juniors 6 - Saint John Sea Dogs 3</b>
The first period started with a flurry of shots as the Sea Dogs fired as much rubber as they could towards Montreal goaltender Jake Allen. Saint John registered 15 shots in the opening period, but were unable to crack the St.Louis Blues prospect. Montreal, on the other hand, countered with 11 shots and got some instant help from the other 3 NHL draft picks on their squad. TJ Brennan and Matt Fillier set up speedster Luke Adam on the power play to give the Juniors the lead after one.
And it did not stop there.
Ryan Sperling evened things up early in the 2nd for the Sea Dogs when his quick shot beat Jake Allen, seemingly shorting the Juniors momentum. After the goal, the game settled down until Luke Adam scored his second goal of the game, snapping home a top corner shot off a nice set-up pass from Matt Fillier. Adam quickly returned the favor to Fillier, setting him up only a minute later to give the Juniors a 3-1 lead. The Sea Dogs continued to seem rattled as they began to take penalties resulting in Guillaume Asselin’s first goal of the season on the power play. Asselin tapped the puck through Sea Dogs netminder Robert Mayer’s legs after smooth skating defenseman Alex Wall went end to end with puck, dishing if off to Asselin at the last minute for the goal.. Matthew Brenton scored a shorthanded goal in the last minute of the period, to give the Juniors a 5-1 lead after two.
Montreal played a more reserved style in the 3rd, focusing on their defense and working on their ability to protect the lead. Nick Layton scored a beauty in the early going of the 3rd when Samuel Grenache, who was a human hitting machine on the ice tonight, fed Layton in the slot. Layton made a nice shoulder fake, faking out the defenseman and then firing home a snap shot between Sea Dogs goaltender, Karel St-Laurent’s legs. St-Laurent replaced Mayer in the 3rd period and made 8 saves on 9 Junior shots. The Sea Dogs fought to get back into the game, scoring two more goals before the end of the match, but it was too late. The new look Juniors successfully earned their first home win of the season and in franchise history.
The NHL prospects(Fillier, Adam and Brennan) combined for 3 goals and 4 assists, while Jake Allen made 32 saves on 35 shots, leading Montreal to victory. Other stand out players on the night for the Juniors were forwards Guillaume Asselin, Samuel Grenache and Matt Brenton, while D-men Alex Wall, although shaky at times, and Pat O-keefe played well on the back end.
With the 6-3 win, the Montreal Juniors now have a record of 2-3. Montreal will look to even their regular season record in their next home game, Sunday, September 28th at 4:30pm at the Verdun Auditorium against the Gatineau Olympiques.