The Lakeshore Peewee AA Panthers ended their 2011-2012 season undefeated as they tied the Suroît Grenadiers twice this weekend. The first game ended 1-1 Saturday afternoon in Kirkland while the two teams couldn’t break a 3-3 deadlock Sunday at Aréna Léo Crépin in Châteauguay.
It was the confrontation of a defensive powerhouse (Suroît) against a well-oiled offensive machine (Panthers) this weekend. Despite this, the Grenadiers scored the first goal of the game early in the first period Saturday. Félix Bibeau found the hole under Jarod Boudreau’s glove at 3:55 of the first period to put his team ahead by one.
The Panthers spent the rest of the game trying to deploy their offensive, setting up nice long passes to each other, fancy plays that too often ended up causing turnovers against them. The Grenadiers were constantly attacking pass lanes and the puck carrier leaving little chance for the Lakeshore to get close to the net where shots would have been dangerous. All in all, the Panthers shot 15 times against goaltender Kyle Jessiman.
“Our game plan was really to defend ourselves well. It was to defend the central corridor well to keep them from taking possession of that zone with their speed and to send them into grey zones,” said Grenadiers head coach Stéphane Beaudin.
The Panthers had to wait for a five-on-three power play at the beginning of the third period to be able to finally put one behind Jessiman. Defenseman Michael Fiorini shot from the point and Shawn Kennedy redirected the shot past the goaltender at 5:07. Beaudin said after the game this was the turning point of the game.
“When you’re already defending at five-on-five, it is very difficult to defend at five-on-three against a team that usually scores a lot of goals. We played against our game plan which was to be very disciplined. This three-on-five was kind of the turning point of the game, it brought them back into the game,” he said.
As for Panthers’ head coach Louis Isabella, he felt his team should have kept things simpler against the highly defensive Grenadiers.
We didn’t move the puck well today. The other team played well defensively. Instead of keeping the game simpler and more open, my guys always went into the traffic. We didn’t get many scoring opportunities as a result and obtained only 15 shots on goals. You can’t win many games with 15 shots. The guys tried to be a little bit too fancy instead of keeping things simple,” he said.