On Friday night the Montreal Juniors earned themselves a huge statement victory over the Quebec Remparts and improved their record to 12-3-2-1.
Montreal won the game in style. After coming back from a 4-2 deficit with only 10 minutes left in the game, the Juniors won the game in a shootout. Jeremy Gouchie scored the winner allowing the Juniors to walk away with a 5-4 victory.
The Verdun Auditorium was jam packed and a memorable atmosphere was noticed by all. There wasn't a seat open in the building and there were plenty of fans packed into the standing zones, including a large number of Remparts fans who made the trip from Quebec City.
Seeing Quebec and Montreal battle for 65 minutes gave me a craving to see a match up between the two team in the playoffs next spring. That would be a Quebec hockey fans' dream. Both teams are well coached and deep at all positions, not to mention the memories that spark when thinking about a Quebec City vs. Montreal match up.
24 horse later I find myself sitting in the press box at the Colisee Pepsi in Quebec City. It's my first time visiting this building and I have to say, I like it. It's old and gives you a feel of the "old nhl". There's a main seating level plus an upper deck. The seats at both end zones of the upper deck level pile higher than they do along the sides of the rink.
But despite the old feel, there's also a modern twist. The Remparts have an NHL-like introduction which plays on 4 sides of the octagon scoreboard hanging above center ice. The introduction allows fans to see each player, while flashing visuals of the city's well known landmarks, thereby linking a relationship between the fans, the city, the team and it's players. The atmosphere here is far closer to that of a Habs game than that of a Juniors game. Needless o say, the marketing people are earning their salaries.
Now to the action. It is obvious that Louis Leblanc is a marked man in this city. Not only are the Remparts checking him tight with the likes of Frederik Roy and Matthew Brown but the fans boo him whenever they get a chance.
Speaking of Leblanc, he is playing his second straight game with a new set of line mates; team captain Nicolas Chouinard and European Janos Hari. So far they're doing well. Leblanc had a goal last night and another tonight (eventual game winner).
The second line of Philippe Lefebvre (LW), Jeremy Gouchie (C) and Trevor Parkes (RW) has looked very impressive. Every time they're on the ice the Juniors are achieving strong pressure down low in the Remparts zone. This line has played so well you could even call it the 1st line.
The team dressed 7 defenseman and 11 forwards tonight leaving center man Denis Kindl on the sidelines as a last minute scratch. It's not the first time coach Pascal Vincent has made this move and surely won't be the last. Francis Meilleur and Charles Olivier have formed a unit together all year. Charles Landry, who returned recently from a fractured jaw, is paired with Xavier Ouellet. Matt provost, Jonathan Narbonne and Alex Micallef, all 18 year old junior aged players, make take up the 5th, 6th and 7th spots on the blue line rotating in playing time.
The David Rose and Philippe Fontaine formed the 3rd pair of wingers. Sherbatov and rookie Laflamme made up the fourth. Anderson spent time centering both lines as did the other two pivots (Leblanc and Gouchie) from time to time.
The game has now ended. Leblanc's goal became the winner. Quebec pressed the Juniors towards the end of the game but were unsuccessful in their attempt to tie things up.
27 hours ago the Quebec Remparts were ranked #1 in the country out of 60 CHL teams. Montreal has now beat Quebec twice in as many nights. I guess you could say I'm looking forward to next week's rankings.