Young Phoenix win over young Voltigeurs
Goalkeeper Jasmin Simon was in his first game in the QMJHL.
Share September 1, 2020 10:03 p.m. Updated at 11:03 p.m. Share The young Phoenix win over the young Voltigeurs
Sébastien Lajoie La Tribune The young players from the Phoenix had the upper hand over the young players from the Drummondville Voltigeurs on Tuesday night at the Center Marcel-Dionne, in a 5-4 victory. Even though it was only the first exhibition game, the young Phoenix used the recipe that made the team so successful last season – speed and intensity. This match was first and foremost a great audition for the youngsters who are trying to break through the lineup of these two teams located at opposite positions on Highway 55.
No less than 15 recruits furnished the rosters of each formation.
Even though the game was played in front of bare stands of spectators and everything that usually surrounds the presentation of a junior hockey game, the youngsters were nervous, despite everything, during the first 20 minutes.
But the more the game progressed, the more frank the shoulders became, the more precise the throws, the more the assists were and the more the goaltenders seemed at ease.
And in this great first for many, it was the Phoenix players who dictated the tempo, taking advantage of a Drummondville defense that seemed hesitant at times.
Sherbrooke took a 3-1 lead after 20, thanks to goals from Tristan Gourdeau, Thomas Bégin and Karl Vaillancourt, while Charles-Antoine Dumont replied for Drummondville.
Maxime Blanchard and Gabriel Simoneau then helped the Phoenix increase their lead to 5-3 after two periods. Jérémy Sainte-Marie and Aleksandar Dimovski, with his first of the match, scored for Drummond.
Speed and intensity
The game became tighter and more intense in the third period, and the Voltigeurs applied constant pressure to the Sherbrooke defense.
Drummond closed the lead to one goal as the team goaltender was back on the bench in favor of a sixth forward, but it was too little too late.
Goalkeeper Jasmin Simon, the Phoenix's third-round pick in the last draft, began his first game in the QMJHL. He blocked 16 of 18 shots aimed at him. Identical results for Jordan Lambert.
“I liked the involvement of everyone, and the concentration. We saw a lot of speed, the guys were physically involved, as soon as the match started. I've seen guys cheer each other on the bench, even though the band hasn't been together for very long. Is it the culture, the team identity that the young people saw when they rubbed shoulders with the veterans? I don't know, but it's very positive, ”said Phoenix head coach Stéphane Julien.
“Jasmin Simon was very good, even though there is a goal he would like to see again. On the blue line, Zachary Lessard had a good game. On the attack, Jaheem Aurelien Lagacé did some great things. In general, everyone did well. “
The trio of Karl Vaillancourt (1-2), Jean-Raphaël Roy (0-2) and Tristan Gourdeau (1-1) was also solid.
For the Voltigeurs, Dimovski scored two goals, and the team's second-round pick in the last draft, Justin Côté, had two assists.
In net, Jacob Leblanc blocked eight of 13 shots, while 16-year-old rookie Riley Mercer was perfect against 12 shots.
Finding motivation, not easy
No siren noise after goals, no loud encouragement, no more home play. Players will have to find reasons to motivate themselves and get that little extra dose of energy, and that will be the main challenge in this season tinged with COVID and its health measures, says Stéphane Julien.
The latter paced his bench during the match, removing and putting on his mask, when he wanted to shout his instructions to the players.
“I asked myself the question at the end of the match; what kind of motivation will we be able to find for the players in this context? It's going to be fun for the first three or four games, but during the season, no fans, the teams will have to bring something different to feel that we are in the mood. Sixty games like that, no one, with just music, it looks a lot like my Tuesday night garage league! It's going to be a challenge! Laughed the head coach.
“The only thing I find unpleasant is that we lack closeness to the guys. We walk on eggshells everywhere. The guys arrive in the morning, they stay in the room, we don't go out too much. It will be an adaptation. When the team is formed and we are back in our room, it might be easier, but I find it hard right now. You can't see anybody's face, the communication is different. We're a tightly knit club, but now it's like we have a visor between us. But hey, we'll get used to it! “
The two clubs will meet at the Palais des sports on Thursday from 7 p.m.