Châteaguay powers to first win of the tournament

Matthew Gourlie
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Cardinal, McCulloch and Levac each score twice in 7-3 Grenadiers win

The Grenadiers de Châteauguay needed a win Wednesday.

Justin Doucet from the Grenadier de Châteauguay watches as a point shot beats Halifax goalie Reilly Pickard Wednesday afternoon at the Telus Cup midget AAA national hockey championship in Moose Jaw.

The Québec champions didn't waste any time making sure they earned their first win of the tournament.

Brandon McCulloch and Martin-Olivier Cardinal scored in the first 1:04 of the game as the Grenadiers stormed out of the gates. The Grenadier cruised to a 7-3 win over the Halifax McDonald's at the Telus Cup. The Grenadiers now have four points, while Halifax has a lone point.

"It was a better game than our first two games. We're getting better and better each game," said Cardinal who still feels his team needs to improve. "The last game we played 30 minutes and today we played 40. We need to play a full 60 if we want to win."

McCulloch, Cardinal and Samuel Levac each scored twice for the Grenadiers. They scored four times on their first seven power play chances as they built a 7-1 lead less than eight minutes into the second period.

"It was really important. The power play and the PK are big parts of the game and that's what is going to let us win," said Cardinal. "We had good movement, we shot pucks to the net and we had good screens."

Despite having a comfortable lead by the mid-point of the game, the Grenadiers weren't overly pleased with their performance over the 60 minutes.

"After (building the lead) we didn't play the type of game that we're supposed to play. That's wasn't our best game," said Cardinal, the Grenadiers' captain. "We need to be better in our next games. We relaxed and that's not good. We need to be in their face more and play our style of game and be more aggressive."

The Macs got off to a disastrous start. Shawn Hubley threw a big hit seconds into the game against a Grenadiers player who didn't have the puck. McCulloch scored on the power play, 26 seconds into the game. Châteauguay led 3-0 after 4:24.

Luc Poirier got the Macs on the board before the end of the first period as they began to find their legs.

"The first five minutes, obviously, we weren't ready to play. I thought the last 15 minutes of first period were good, but in the second period we were using our sticks to chop wood more than play hockey," said Halifax head coach Tim Boyce. "We knew coming in that their power play was incredible. Their power play is one of the best I've seen in the country."

The Grenadiers finished 4-for-11 on the power play and Halifax was 0-for-5.

"We took a lot of penalties, their power play is very good… and I think that was the difference in the game," said Boyce. "We took too many stick infractions. We have to change the way we're playing up here. The officiating isn't going to change. We know what the standard is here now and we're going to have to adjust."

Tyler Hylland scored a power play goal for Châteauguay 30 seconds into the second period and finished with four points on the day.

The Macs took two early head contact penalties in the middle frame and then a double-minor for charging and unsportsmanlike conduct. The Grenadiers scored on both halves of the double-minor 41 seconds apart to pad their lead.

Halifax didn't quit and put together a solid third period. Johnny Jones and Barrett Dachyshyn scored for the Macs.

"We wanted to finish strong and we know (Thursday) is a very important game," said Boyce whose team will face Okanagan. "Our window of opportunity is closing, but it hasn't closed.

"I thought for 35 minutes we played very well and five-on-five it was a 3-3 game."

Ryan Coughlin got his second straight start in goal for the Grenadiers and made 28 saves to earn the win.

Justin Ritcey was pulled midway through the second period under the barrage from the Grenadiers. The Macs goalie stopped 16 of the 21 shots he faced, while Reilly Pickard turned away 22 shots and allowed only two goals in relief.

Alexandre Payusov added three assists for the Grenadiers. Justin Samson, Danick Crête and Mikael Sabourin each had two assists for Châtueaguay.

Organizations: Halifax, Telus

Geographic location: Okanagan

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