Juniors Reclaim 1st Place in Division
Montreal. Friday, October 24, 2008.
Heading into Friday night's action at the Verdun Auditorium the Montreal Juniors trailed the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies by one point for 1st place in the Telus Western Division. In order for Montreal to regain first place of their division they would have to beat the Gatineau Olympiques without their number one centerman Angelo Esposito. Esposito missed Friday night's game with an injury, but his team-mates did an excellent job in his absence.
Montreal Juniors 3 - Gatineau Olympiques 2
Having faced each other 4 times in the pre-season, these two teams were already very familiar with each other heading into the regular season. The last time these teams met the Juniors wiped out the Olympiques 5-0 in Montreal's season home opener.
Tonight's game was a very important game for Montreal; a win would bring them into a tie for first place in the division, while a loss would tie them with the Olympiques for second.
The Juniors opened the scoring early on in the first, marking the 3rd straight game where the Juniors got out to a lead over their opponents in the first 5 minutes. Guillaume Asselin scored his 5th goal of the year at 4 minutes and 36 seconds mark of the first, with assists going to Pat O'keefe and Louis-Marc Aubry, giving Montreal their quick lead. Gatineau would battle back, firing 10 shots at Jake Allen throughout the period, but the Juniors stellar netminder would not allow the Olympiques to beat him.
The game tightened up in the second as this penalty filled affair slowed down. Montreal did manage to beat Gatineau goalie Maxim Clermont with a Louis-Marc Aubry power play goal, but the period ended up being a defensive battle with the Juniors out-shooting Gatineau 8-5.
The pace of the game changed rather quickly in the 3rd period as both teams combined for 9 penalties. Gatineau came out of the dressing room flying and really pressed Montreal as the attempted a comeback. The Juniors hero of the game was Louis-Marc Aubry as he scored his 2nd goal of the game(his 3rd point) at 9:50 of the 3rd to give the Juniors a 3-0 lead. It was a good thing they got the lead when they did(Juniors captain Matt Fillier missed a penalty shot at the 18:36 mark of the 3rd period) because Gatineau would not stop pressuring the Juniors in the final 10 minutes of the game. The Olympiques scored 2 goals, a power play goal by Alexandre Touchette and a late tally by Hugo Laporte, making things alot closer than they should have been. Jake Allen was his usual super-star self, stopping 15 of 17 shots in the 3rd to allow Montreal to get back on the winning track, beating Gatineau by a final score of 3-2.
The Juniors will have Saturday off to rest before they return to action at home on Sunday against the Victoriaville Tigres. The game is at 4:30pm at the Verdun Auditorium.
Engish Game Reports By Steven Hindle