Montreal. Sunday, September 28, 2008.
The Juniors faced their pre-season rivals, the Gatineau Olympiques, for their first regular season encounter this afternoon at the Verdun Auditorium. Anticipated to be a heated contest due to the four pre-season encounters these teams endured, Montreal was a step ahead of the Olympiques all game long.
After four games in the pre-season, in which Gatineau won 3(2 decided by shootout), the Juniors were in need to put up a strong performance. Jake Allen and his team-mates made sure not to disappoint the raucous home fans.
Montreal Juniors 5 - Gatineau Olympiques 0
Montreal didn’t wait long to erase any impressions that they were a stronger team than the Olympiques. The Juniors opened the game firing on all cylinders. Gatineau, strong in the first 10 minutes of the game, found themselves under fire as Juniors captain Matt Fillier got Montreal on the board first, scoring a power play goal at the 13:54 mark.
Grabbing the early lead, Montreal pressed on firing 11 shots on Gatineau netminder Maxime Clermont, scoring two more times in the final 2 minutes of the first, as Alex Wall and Taylor MacDougall staked the Juniors to a 3-0 lead after one. Jake Allen continued his strong performance following the Juniors Friday night win, stopping all 11 shots by the Olympiques.
No goals were scored in a second period that was much tighter as the Olympiques tried to clamp down on the Juniors explosive offense. Gatineau limited the Juniors to only 6 shots in the period, yet could not capitalize on any of their 9 shots fired towards Jake Allen. Gatineau pressed hard, too hard, taking 3 penalties and allowing a potent Montreal power play the opportunity to add to their lead. Fortunately for Gatineau, the Olympiqes played a much stronger period in front of Marc-Antoine Gélinas, who came into replace netminder Maxime Clermont for the second period, stopping the Juniors in all 3 power play attempts.
The strong emotions from pre-season boiled over in the third as the two teams accumulated 21 penalty minutes. Although the two teams provoked each other all period, only Montreal was able to get on the board. Pier-Antoine Dion got his 3rd of the season at 7:29 of the third, all but putting the game out of reach for the Olympiques. Sammy Grenache added an extra shorthanded goal for insurance with only 6:43 remaining. Gatineau fought hard, shooting another 11 shots at Allen, but Montreal’s talented goaltender was impervious, making a total of 31 saves, in only his second start, for his first shutout as a member of the Juniors.
With the 5-0 “blanchissage” of the Olympiques, Montreal now brings their regular season record back to .500, 3 wins and 3 losses. Montreal has scored 22 goals in their first 6 games while allowing only 19. The Juniors have the week off before they face Acadie-Bathurst next Friday, October 3rd at the Verdun Auditorium at 7:30pm. This will be Juniors last home game for 2 weeks as they hit the road for a 5 game road trip.