Michael McCarron and the Oshawa Generals clinched a spot in the Memorial Cup final on Tuesday night with a 2-1 win over the Kelowna Rockets at the Colisee Pepsi.
McCarron failed to register a point for the first time during the tournament, but he still came close to scoring in the latter stages of the first period. While his shot beat Rockets goaltender Jackson Whistle between the legs, it ultimately hit the goal post. The 20-year-old centreman finished the night with a minus-1 differential, registering two shots on goal, dishing out three hits and winning nine of the 20 draws he took.
McCarron was also used in a crucial defensive role during the game, taking to the ice while the Generals were trying to kill off a 5-on-3 situation at the end of the game in order to protect a one-goal lead.
“[Coach] has been using me in those situations all year, especially in those defensive situations to win some faceoffs,” offered McCarron. “Unfortunately, I didn’t win that one, but I thought I did a good job working with our defenseman and getting in the passing lanes. I know they had some good chances. I think we were right in their kitchen a little bit too much and they couldn’t get a shot on net.”
The Generals will now enjoy a four-day break before vying for the Memorial Cup title. Their opponent will be determined during the semi-final on Friday night.
“I love that we have four days off before the finals,” concluded McCarron. “Everybody in there is a little bit banged up and needs a little bit of extra rest. This is going to help us for sure.”
In the much anticipated tilt between two of the Canadiens’ top prospects at the Memorial Cup, Michael McCarron’s Oshawa Generals bested Zachary Fucale and the Quebec Remparts by a score of 5-4 in overtime on Sunday at the Colisee Pepsi.
McCarron got things off to a strong start for Oshawa, tipping a shot past Fucale less than three minutes into the opening frame. The towering pivot then picked up a second point by collecting an assist on the Generals’ second tally of the night to up his Memorial Cup point haul to three, one behind tournament leader Michael Dal Colle, who also dons an Oshawa jersey.
Even though he came out on the wrong side of the scoresheet, Fucale was outstanding between the pipes in just over 78 minutes of play. The Canadiens’ second-round selection in 2013 faced a total of 50 shots, including 18 in overtime alone. The deciding goal ultimately came at the 18:07 mark of the first overtime period.
By securing their second win of the tournament, the Generals have assured themselves of a spot in the semi-final, and they can lock up a spot in the championship game if they down the Kelowna Rockets on Tuesday night.
For his part, Fucale will enjoy a two-day break before the Remparts take on the Rimouski Oceanic on Wednesday.
|Michael McCarron (Mathieu Bélanger - Getty Images)
Despite spotting Rimouski an early two-goal lead, Michael McCarron and the Oshawa Generals bested the Oceanic 4-3 on Saturday, during the second day of Memorial Cup action from Quebec City.
The Canadiens' second-round pick in 2013 had a busy afternoon, setting up the Generals' first goal while also dropping the gloves in the second period opposite Samuel Morin. The imposing center was also excellent in the faceoff circle, winning 10 of his 16 draws, in addition to firing four shots on goal and leading his teammates in the hits column.
McCarron won't have to wait long to return to action, set to face off against fellow 2013 Canadiens draft pick Zachary Fucale and his Quebec Remparts on Sunday evening.
|Zachary Fucale (Aaron Bell - CHL Images)|
The Memorial Cup got underway on Friday night as the Kelowna Rockets battled the host Quebec Remparts.
Canadiens prospect Zachary Fucale was between the pipes for Quebec, pacing the Remparts to a 4-3 win in the tournament opener.
Fucale was particularly good during the middle portion of the second period, making back-to-back stops on Kelowna forwards. Of the three goals Fucale gave up, two were tallied while the Remparts found themselves in short-handed situations. The former second-round selection stopped 25 shots on the night to pick up the victory.
Quebec will be back in action on Sunday as they go up against the Oshawa Generals and Michael McCarron at 4:30 p.m. EST.
MONTREAL -- Jacob de la Rose underwent wrist surgery on Wednesday at Montreal General Hospital.
His recovery is expected to be three months.
Tomas Plekanec joined the Czech National Team at the World Hockey Championships. He'll go up against Team Canada tomorrow.
- The Canadiens skated at Amalie Arena on Tuesday morning in preparation for Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against Tampa. Tomas Plekanec, P.K. Subban and Tom Gilbert did not take part in the practice.
- Despite undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Monday night, Ryan Callahan has not been officially ruled out for Game 6 by head coach Jon Cooper. While it’s likely the Lightning forward – who is currently Tampa’s plus/minus and hits leader – will not be in uniform on Tuesday night, the Canadiens haven’t adapted the game plan in light of his probable absence.
“If we go in with the mindset that it’s going to be a little bit easier tonight because Callahan is out, we’re going to be making a big mistake,” said Lars Eller, who is first on the team and fifth in the league with a 58.6% efficiency in the faceoff circle this spring. “We can’t look at it that way. We’ve had injuries, too, and other guys step up.”
- Getting on the board first has been a recipe for success for both the Habs and the Lightning in the 2015 Playoffs. Currently owning a 3-1 record when opening the scoring – including a perfect 2-0 in two elimination games this series – the Canadiens have made no secret about the importance of getting into the driver’s seat as quickly as possible, especially given the team is 3-0 when leading after the first period and 5-0 when leading after the second this spring.
“You don’t want to get behind the Eight-Ball right away and spend the whole game fighting back. It’s good to establish a lead and try to contain it. When you have a lead, you control the pace,” explained Nathan Beaulieu. “You win games by very low numbers of goals. It’s important to get a quick one right away and contain the lead and push the pace. A good start is always in the back of our minds.”
Currently in the hunt for his eighth-straight win in an elimination game since arriving in Sochi for the 2014 Olympics, Carey Price has been a key factor in the Canadiens’ ability to hang on to leads once they’ve gotten them this year.
“We know that he’s going to be a wall back there like he’s been all year long. He very seldom lets in more than one or two,” said Beaulieu of the Vezina, Hart and Ted Lindsay-nominated netminder, who has a .923 save percentage and 2.16 goals-against average so far in the postseason. “It’s a special thing we have to work with so we know what we have to do. A lead is so big when you know he’s going to be back there to protect us.”
- The 2014-15 Habs can write a new page in the team’s record books with a win on Tuesday by becoming the first group in franchise history to force a Game 7 after trailing a series 3-0. Instead of feeling the heat of playing win-or-go-home hockey for a third-straight game, the Canadiens are entering Game 6 with confidence, looking to earn another game at the Bell Centre on Thursday night.
“We don’t feel pressure; we like to apply pressure,” said head coach Michel Therrien. “The guys feel good about themselves and they love the challenge. This is a group that refuses to die. There’s a really good and special chemistry with this group. They love to be surrounded by each other. They feel confident and the confidence comes because of the way they play.”
- One year ago to the day, the Canadiens were sitting in a familiar setting, getting ready for Game 6 against the Bruins while trailing 3-2 in the series. With the memory of that Conference semifinal comeback still fresh, the Habs are looking to the recent past for inspiration heading into another Game 6, 365 days later.
“We were in this situation last year in Boston. We were down 3-2 and we won the game and then we won the series. We did it last year and we believe we can do it again this year,” stressed David Desharnais, who had an assist and finished with a plus-2 differential in the team’s 4-0 win in Game 6 against Boston last year. “We’ve learned from that experience and we’re confident.
“I don’t think we’ve ever been considered the favorites this season and we heard all the time that last year’s run was lucky,” he added. “We want to prove people wrong.”
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Amalie Arena.
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
Words from the room
Game Preview: Canadiens @ Lightning - Round 2, Game 6
Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Lightning #6
Sunday was a travel day for the Canadiens. The team will practice at 12:45 p.m. on Monday at the Ice Sports Forum in Tampa.
All players made the trip with the team for Game 6.
- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Saturday morning ahead of hosting Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Bell Centre.
- The entire team was present for the game day skate which lasted just under 30 minutes, including defenseman Nathan Beaulieu who practiced with his teammates for the first time since suffering an injury in Round 1.
- Michel Therrien confirmed following practice that Beaulieu has been cleared to play, but would not say whether the 22-year-old rearguard will be in uniform for Game 5.
“He had a really good second half of the season and played well in the series against Ottawa,” noted the Habs bench boss on what Beaulieu could possibly bring to the lineup. “We like the way he moves the puck.”
- Buoyed with confidence after a convincing 6-2 win on Thursday which followed a pair of one-goal decisions in Game 1 and Game 3, the Canadiens know that the current 3-1 series deficit doesn’t tell the entire story against Tampa.
“I really liked the way we played in Game 4 and Game 3, I liked the start we had during Game 2, and I obviously liked the way we played in Game 1,” admitted Therrien, who has seen his squad outshoot the Lightning through every game so far this round. “I’m expecting the same type of hockey game tonight. The players are focused, and ready to play hard.”
Despite lighting the lamp six times in Game 4, the Habs are nevertheless taking caution to prepare for a tighter affair on Saturday.
“It was nice to get some breaks [on Thursday]. The only difference between Game 3 and Game 4 is that we scored on all of our chances in Game 4. You can say it was the hockey gods, but we worked for all of our bounces,” underlined Dale Weise, who picked up an assist in the most recent winning effort. “That’s what we’ve got to do tonight. It’s going to be hard, and I don’t expect it to be another high scoring game. I think it’s going to be tight-checking, and those are the games we’re suited for.”
- Although the Habs have never comeback to win a best-of-seven series after initially trailing 3-0, Thursday’s win puts the team in more familiar 3-1 territory, where they’ve had success in the past, notably against Boston and Washington in 2004 and 2010, respectively.
“It hasn’t happened before, but that’s not how we’re looking at it. We’re not thinking about winning four in a row, we’re thinking about winning the next game. We’ve moved on from Thursday,” described Brendan Gallagher, who scored the Canadiens’ fifth goal in Game 4, to bring his postseason tally to three. “We’re focused on tonight and we want to send the series back to Tampa and give ourselves a chance. We have to use the crowd to our advantage tonight and play strong for 60 minutes. Taking any shifts off will cost us.”
Finding themselves in the opposite situation from a series ago, when they led the Ottawa Senators 3-0 before clinching a semifinal berth in Game 6, the Habs meanwhile are also putting their experiences from Round 1 to good use.
“We were kind of in the same situation against Ottawa. We saw how Ottawa won one game and the ball got rolling. Then they won a second one in our building and we’re not as confident as we should be,” continued Weise. “That’s what we’re trying to draw on. We put some doubt in their mind on Thursday, but it’s only one game, so we have to come out strong again tonight and make them doubt themselves even more.”
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EST in Montreal. The game will be broadcast on CBC and TVA Sports.
- Prior to boarding a charter flight back to Montreal on Friday, the Canadiens held a media opportunity at the team hotel in Tampa. Michel Therrien's troops will arrive back home early in the afternoon.
- Therrien, along with defenseman Jeff Petry and forward Tomas Plekanec, were made available for questions. All three reiterated that the team remains confident despite trailing their Eastern Conference Semi-Final series three games to one. They insisted that they will continue to stick to their current game plan, and will do everything possible to ensure a return trip to Tampa on Sunday.
- The Canadiens will be back on the ice on Saturday morning at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard in preparation for Game 5, which will get underway at 7 p.m. EST at the Bell Centre.