Saturday's game was played at the Galeries de la Capitale Shopping Center. This rink in the "middle of the mall" setting was an intriguing site for players and parents alike.
Greeted by an indoor roller coaster as we arrived, we learned this is a "Mega Park" and it is the second largest indoor amusement park in North America. It has family rides like bumper cars, a ferris wheel, and a zip line obstacle course just to name a few. With the snow piles in the mall parking lot easily hitting 20-feet, it is no wonder the people of Quebec combine shopping, recreation and entertainment to under one roof. Some worried of the distraction factor of playing at this rink – but it proved to be a non-issue.
The Quebec Blue Jackets posted and impressive 5-2 victory over the Gatineau Olympiques for their first victory in Quebec. The Quebec Blue Jackets came out strong and raced to an early 2-0 lead with a goal by Kiefer Sherwood (assists by McDonald and Urbanic) and a goal by Connor McDonald (assists by Ebner and Urbanic). The Olympiques battled back and tied the score at 2-2 after two periods. The third period was all Quebec Blue Jackets. Cam Cristofoli, scoring his second goal of the tourney (assisted by Urbanic and Knapp), making the score 3-2. Mark Damante then scored (assist by Sadler) to make it 4-2 and Justin Sadler then added an empty net goal to make the final 5-2.
Although he did not score a goal, John Urbanic was the game's first star. Urbanic came ready to play and his hustle and effort resulted in assisting on the first three goals. Overall team positioning and puck support by the Quebec Blue Jackets contributed to this victory.
The Quebec Blue Jackets are currently 1-1 on the trip. They take the day off from hockey on Sunday and will enjoy the Snow Park and have a team dinner with all the Billet families.
The next game for the team will be on Monday when they play an opponent (to be determined later) in the morning and then play the Middlesex Islanders in the afternoon.
The Quebec Blue Jackets took a big step today and showed they belong in the upper level of the tournament. If the team shows the confidence and desire they did today, they will be able to compete with any team in the tournament.