MONTREAL, QC — While Habs’ fans eagerly await the chance to buy themselves playoff tickets, the second round of the postseason has already kicked off in the QMJHL playoffs, as the Montreal Juniors hosted the Lewiston MAINEiacs at the Verdun Auditorium on Friday night for Game 1. In what can only be described as an end with a flair for the dramatic, the Juniors won their fifth straight postseason contest, needing just a little bit of an overtime period to finally take the game by a count of 6-5.
To open the score, the Juniors got on the board twice with the help of their main sniper Trevor Parkes, who beat Canadiens’ rookie camp attendee Nicolas Champion with his third and fourth goals of the postseason to give his team the 2-0 lead. Matthew Bissonnette countered with two goals of his own for the MAINEiacs and the teams ended the first frame tied at 2.
As Juniors’ blueliner Charles-Olivier Roussel was serving a holding penalty, an Olivier Dame-Malka point shot found its way behind Jean-François Bérubé for the first MAINEiacs lead of the game. Bissonnette would get his hat trick goal less than five minutes later, and the Juniors headed back to the locker room down by two. But they got one quick off the bat in the third period, as Louis Leblanc narrowed the margin to 4-3 after just over a minute had gone by in the frame. Despite both goaltenders being shelled with pucks on either side of the ice, the next goal would have to wait until there were only about two minutes left in regulation. It was Philippe Lefebvre who tied the game at 4, and with a move that got the crowd to its feet, Louis-Marc Aubry restored the Juniors’ lead 41 seconds later. But Lewiston’s Michael Chaput would put an end to that excitement by knotting the game up again at 5, with half a minute to go before regulation ended.
Overtime began with heavy Lewiston presence in the Juniors’ zone, that is, before they forgot about tiny winger David Rose who snuck up on them with not one but two breakaway chances. He capitalized on the second one, as he turned out to be the overtime hero in the game.
Each team saw a goal disallowed through the first 60 minutes. A seven-minute review was needed to refuse a Lewiston goal that saw Jean-François Bérubé’s net dislodged before the puck crossed the line. On the other side, the play was blown dead as the referees lost sight of the puck before the Juniors put it in the net. But neither team will have very much time to think about what could have been, as Game 2 is in less than 24 hours. Puck drop is at 3:05 on Saturday afternoon, once again at the Verdun Auditorium.
Shawinigan Cataractes’ captain Michaël Bournival had a much less dramatic but much more frustrating evening as his team fell 8-1 to the Quebec Remparts, the day after it was announced that the city of Shawinigan would be the hosts of the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament. Patrick Roy‘s Remparts capitalized on 3 of 6 power play chances while Bournival was one of a handful of Cataractes that escaped with a -1. Joël Champagne and Alexandre Grenier each scored twice and Mikaël Tam had three helpers in a game littered with roughing calls and unsportsmanlike penalties, and as Shawinigan netminder Gabriel Girard was chased from the game after letting in five goals on 17 shots, his counterpart Louis Domingue stopped 26 of the 27 shots against him. Game 2 of this series is also on Saturday, with a 7:00 start.
Round 2 Schedule
all times listed are EST
(2) Montreal Juniors vs. (8) Lewiston MAINEiacs
Game 1 – Friday, April 8th – 7:05 PM (Montreal) — Juniors W 6-5 (OT)
Game 2 – Saturday, April 9th – 3:05 PM (Montreal)
Game 3 – Tuesday, April 12th – 7:00 PM (Lewiston)
Game 4 – Wednesday, April 13th – 7:00 PM (Lewiston)
Game 5 – Friday, April 15th – 7:05 PM (Montreal)*
Game 6 – Sunday, April 17th – 3:05 PM (Montreal)*
Game 7 – Tuesday, April 19th – 7:05 PM (Montreal)*
(3) Quebec Remparts vs. (7) Shawinigan Cataractes
Game 1 – Friday, April 8th – 7:00 PM (Quebec) – Remparts W 8-1
Game 2 – Saturday, April 9th – 7:00 PM (Quebec)
Game 3 – Tuesday, April 12th – 7:00 PM (Shawinigan)
Game 4 – Wednesday, April 13th – 7:00 PM (Shawinigan)
Game 5 – Friday, April 15th – 7:00 PM (Quebec)*
Game 6 – Monday, April 17th – 4:00 PM (Shawinigan)*
Game 7 – Tuesday, April 19th – 7:00 PM (Quebec)*
* – if necessary