|Jeremy Gouchie has 9 points in his last 7 GP|
On Friday, they were cold. Montreal blew a 2-1 lead against Shawinigan and suffered their 5th regulation loss of the season by a score of 3-2. Shawinigan are a tough young team and proved they can play with the best in the league. Although young, they are a well coached machine possessing both size and skill. Right now they're sitting in 9th place overall which is not bad considering they're building their team to peak next season. Their hopes are to participate in the 2012 Memorial Cup and are one of 4 QMJHL teams bidding to host the event. They don't have the big names like the Saint John Sea Dogs but they have a tougher and more physical group of troops. As for this season, contending teams won't be wishing for a round 2 matchup vs. Shawinigan. They'll give their opponent the most they can handle.
Today the Juniors came back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Drummondville Voltigeurs 5-3. The first star of the game was ex-Voltigeur and Montreal Junior forward Philippe Lefebvre. The left winger was driven mad by one of his ex-teammates midway through the second period which pushed his game to a completely different level. Lefebvre was hitting, blocking shots and skating like the wind in order to show his former mates who holds the upper hand. Lefebvre scored the Juniors 2nd goal and minutes later he set up the tying goal in order to get his team back in the game. Strangely, these two points ended Lefebvre's 5 game point-less streak. If he can find some form of motivation to keep his game at this level the Juniors will be even stronger going forward. Tonight Lefebvre played with lots of passion and a sense of desperation. It was a playoff type performance. Hats off to him.
Despite Lefebvre's slump he has actually been playing on the Juniors best line as of late. He just hasn't been as lucky as his line mates when it comes to putting up points. During the last 7 games played centerman Jeremy Gouchie has put up 9 points and right winger Trevor Parkes has 10 points. While Lefebvre has only 4 points during the same period, he has been playing very responsible hockey with a plus-minus rating of +7. Lefebvre currently leads the Juniors with a rating of +25 in 32 GP.
Montreal captain Nicolas Chouinard returned to the lineup today after missing a handful of games due to injury. Chouinard is one of the players that needs to start producing more offense and that will likely come once he starts feeling 100%. Similar to Lefebvre, Chouinard played a tough physical game and was throwing his body at the Voltigeur players without any fear or hesitation. This style of play is exactly what the Juniors need to get more of from their current roster if they aren't able to address this need via trade
In WJHC news......Louis Leblanc didn't play in Montreal's game against Drummondville today. That's because he was hard at work in Toronto at Team Canada's WJHC camp. It seems as though he's off to a good start. If you watch the inter squad game highlights on TSN you'll see Leblanc scoring a nice goal. He snapped a hard shot in the net while breaking in on the opposing team's goalie. Leblanc was interviewed by TSN earlier today and you can read more about that here; http://tsn.ca/canadian_hockey/story/?id=344868. Leblanc is one of 5 players from the Q participating at the camp.
This week Montreal (currently #2 in the league standings) plays in Gatineau (T-#6) on Wednesday before hosting Lewiston (#5) on Friday. Should be two exciting games.
Photo Credit: Ron Lemish