Grenadiers into Telus Cup final

Katie
Katie Brickman
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Nationals to play rematch against Rockets

The province of Quebec hasn’t won a national title in 13 years.

Tyler Hylland of the Chateauguay Grenadiers collides with goaltender Izzy Benigno of the Toronto Young Nationals, setting up an empty net for teammates Martin-Olivier Cardinal in the Telus Cup semifinal on Saturday night. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

The Châteauguay Grenadiers will try and change on Sunday afternoon.

In a somewhat lackluster semifinal on Saturday, the Grenadiers defeated the Toronto Young Nationals 6-1 to advance to the Telus Cup final.

“It is a once in a life time opportunity,” said Étienne Monpetit. “We are going to take full advantage of the opportunity.”

Monpetit was fantastic for the Grenadiers, stopping 39 of 40 shots. The only player that was able to beat him was James Guest, early in the third period on the power play.

“You run into a hot goalie here and there. It happens. We had our chances, but we just didn’t do it,” said Guest.

There wasn’t much action at either end of the ice, with much of the play being held in the neutral zone. Many of the six Grenadiers shots went in as they entered the zone. Neither team applied much pressure or stay in the offensive zone very long.

“I thought the game was played in the neutral zone. We didn’t spend that much time in our d-zone, just when we were on the kill or something like that. It was a weird game – like a ping-pong game,” stated Bruce Richardson, head coach for Châteauguay. “When we got opportunities, we capitalized. That has been our team all year, we are a skilled team and we are opportunistic and put pucks on net. When we had breakdowns, our goalie played a hell of a game for us.”

Danick Crête got the Grenadiers on the board less than two minutes into the game and then Samuel Levac gave them a 2-0 lead early.

“We tried to chip pucks deep and get in there, hit them, get the puck back and cycle it … that’s our game, but we kind of got away from that a little,” said Guest.

It was 4-0 for the Grenadiers after two periods of play and Montpetit was a big part of that.

“He has been big for us and we need that to compete in the championship,” said Richardson. “You look at any NHL team that wins a Stanley Cup or a junior team that wins a Memorial Cup, you need a good goalie.”

The Nationals lost 11-2 to the Okanagan Rockets in their final round robin game on Friday and the Grenadiers used that to their advantage.

“The coaches’, yes, we thought about it, but we didn’t want to mention it to the players. They are kids and they aren’t stupid. They know the game,” stated Richardson. “I heard someone say in the dressing room, ‘If we could take the lead early, it will start them thinking about last night.’ But we didn’t say anything in the pre-game meeting.”

With the loss, the Nationals will face the Rockets in the bronze medal game (11 a.m., Mosaic Place) and will be seeking some revenge from the shellacking they received Friday.

 “We really want the redemption back,” stated Guest. “We didn’t have a great game, obviously, but we are going to go out and get back to our game and win.”

With the victory, the Grenadiers will face the Prince Albert Mintos in the final (3 p.m., Mosaic Place). The two teams battled to a 1-1 tie earlier in the tournament.

“They are really good defensively and they have two good goalies that play well,” said Richardson. “We are good offensively and they are good defensively, so it should be a good matchup.”

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