Similar to a typical NHL schedule, the Jr. Colorado Avalanche hit the ice early for a morning skate before its first tournament game later that night.
Right wing Mason Ripley described the practice as, "a chance to get our legs under us before the game tonight. It was important to get ready for the game, especially after our long journey to Quebec. After lunch, we went back to the hotel to rest. I took a pre-game nap, just like a professional NHL player would do."
As the pee-wee Avalanche walked into the basement of the Videotron Centre Thursday night, and they could hear the roar of a crowd above them. Facing off against Nathan MacKinnon's childhood pee-wee club, the Halifax Mooseheads, both teams skated hard while goaltender Liam Lane kept the Avs in the game, but Halifax struck late in the third period.
Unfortunately, it was a bounce in the wrong direction, as the Jr. Mooseheads took a 1-0 lead with only 40 seconds left on the game clock.
"Halifax was a quick team; they moved their feet really good," Mason said. "I felt like we had a pretty good game, but those last 40 seconds is what killed us."
The Avalanche had a great crowd in the Videotron Centre tonight, filled with parents who have made the trip from Colorado to Quebec, as well as every billet family.
"It was amazing to look up in the crowd for a quick 10 seconds before we had to get focused on the game," Mason said. "Our billet families all wore our Avalanche jerseys. I loved how the kids were on the glass with our Avalanche flag. They held it up on the glass the entire game.
"My billets are a loving family that has welcomed me into their home. I have two billet parents, a 4-year old billet sister and 7-year old billet brother. Even though my billet brother and sister don't speak English, they have taught me a few French words and we have been playing NHL on the Xbox".
Despite the loss in the first round of the tournament, the Avalanche still has a chance to advance within their division. The boys will host a practice Friday morning before an adventure-filled weekend where Mason says they'll "have a great opportunity to immerse ourselves in the Quebec culture."
The next time the Avalanche laces up its skates will be Monday morning for an exhibition game against the local Beauport Harfangs.