Pouliot is a 6`4``and 205 pound left winger.
He plays a sound defensive game and
adds both size and grit to the JRS lineup
The Juniors didn't make it easy for themselves with poor starts to each game:
The Foreurs scored 2 quick goals on their first 3 shots which led the Juniors coaching staff to pull J-F Berube from the game. Marcoux took over but that didn't prevent Val D'or from scoring 1 more quick goal allowing them to hold a 3-0 lead over Montreal only 10 minutes into the contest. All this to say....stopping pucks wasn't exactly the Juniors strong point this weekend.
Before the period ended Trevor Parkes was able to score back to back goals which brought Montreal straight back into the thick of things. The Juniors eventually ended up winning the game by a score of 6-4, included an empty netter. Although they won the game, you'd think they would have learned their lesson about slow starts. But no......
.....On Sunday Gatineau was in town. Berube was given the vote of confidence by Pascal Vincent and started between the pipes. But once again the Juniors found themself trailing 3-0 early in the game. Berube wasn't pulled this time and Montreal found a way to crawl back into the game during the 2nd period, much to the heroics of Francis Meilleur who assisted on the team's 2nd goal and scored the 3rd. But trying to play catch-up doesn't always work. Gatineau came back strong and added 2 more goals to beat the Juniors 5-3.
Montreal can't expect to be a championship team if they continue to start games so poorly. Against Val D'Or, a weaker team, they were down 3-0 and managed to come back and win the game. Great. But against a stronger Gatineau team, the 3rd best team in the league (in my opinion), they weren't able to get away with such a brutal start.
It takes discepline to eliminate bad habits such as slow starts. Montreal better get serious and work on that if they want to be truely successful.
New faces in the Juniors lineup (Hertzberg, Pouliot, Lemieux and Beauchemin):
Viktor Hertzberg - The Swedish left winger lined up next to Louis Leblanc at center, as expected, and David Rose on right wing. He's a quick player and has excellent hockey sense. Leblanc and Hertzberg proved to find immediate chemistry as Hertzberg scored 2 goals in his first outing with the team. His heads up passing ability was also noticably impressive. Unfortunitly Hertzberg was hit from behind during the 3rd period and left with an undisclosed injury. The injury was significant enough to keep Herzberg out of the lineup vs. Gatineau the following day.
Raphael Pouliot - Montreal now has what they've been missing all season long: more size, more grit, and protection. Pouliot is a big left winger at 6'4" and 205 pounds. He lined up on the team's 3rd line and played well. He makes it a point to finish his checks without falling out of position. During a few scrums Pouliot was seen getting in the faces of his oponents who tried to mess with his teammates. And it was obvious they didn't want to mess with him. The best part about Pouliot is that he's NOT a goon. He's a big tough guy who plays solid defensivly and can chip in offensively ever now and then.
Alex Lemieux - How can I describe this guy. Hmmmm.....remember Samuel Grenache, he played for Montreal during the 2008-2009 season? Like Lemieux, Grenache was an average sized player but that didn't prevent him from hitting everything that moved and it surely didn't prevent him from fighting anyone on the ice, no matter what their size. My first impression of Lemieux is that he shares these instincts with Grenache. In his first two games with Montreal Lemieux handed out 3 or 4 rock solid hits and engaged in 1 fight. That fight, I will point out, was against ex-Juniors draftee 6'4" and 180 lbs Anthony Taylor. Lemieux will be a consistent 4th line energy player this season but could easily move up as high as the 2nd line next season. He's an 18 year old and has good skills to go along with his feisty side.
Jean-Laurence Beauchemin - He's a big defenseman that adds size to the Juniors blueline. Although not the most physical defenseman Beauchemin plays a sound game positionally and moves the puck fairly well. His big reach will help the Juniors defend especially on the penalty kill. Beauchemin is not very physical considering his size.
This weekend's three stars:
3rd star - C, Jeremy Gouchie (1G, 3A, +2): Gouchie held Gatineau leading scorer Devos to 1 assist.
2nd star - RW, Trevor Parkes (2G, 3A, +1): Parkes was clutch as usual scoring timely goals.
1st star - D, Francis Meilleur (1G, 4A, +2): The Juniors most intelligent player fueled his team's offensive production all weekend.
Up next this week:
Montreal heads west later this week, making stops in Rouyn Noranda on Thursday night followed by Val D`Or on Friday night.
Photo Credit: Ron Lemish