A week-long break, a brand-new arena and a shorthanded opponent gave the Shawinigan Cataractes all they needed to get back on the winning track at home.
The Cataractes kicked off their tenure in the Amphitheatre de Shawinigan by dominating the Montreal Juniors in a 5-1 victory on Saturday night in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Shawinigan left the Arena Jacques-Plante - the home of the team since it joined the QMJHL in 1969 - on a losing note, dropping a 3-2 decision to the league-leading Drummondville Voltigeurs on Dec. 18. The loss snapped a 16-game home winning streak and knocked the Cataractes (30-8-0-0) out of first place.
Matthew Pistilli scored the first goal in the new building, potting his 25th of the season 54 seconds into the game. Pierre-Alexandre Vandall and Tommy Tremblay added goals in the second period to build a 3-0 lead.
Montreal's offence produced 31 shots, but could not find the finishing touch that star forward Angelo Esposito usually provides. Esposito is currently in Ottawa, representing Canada at the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Elsewhere in the QMJHL, it was: Drummondville 6, Val-d'Or 3; Victoriaville 4, Lewiston 3; Quebec 3, Baie-Comeau 2; Gatineau 4, Rouyn-Noranda 2; Chicoutimi 8, Rimouski 2; Moncton 3, Halifax 2; P.E.I. 7, Cape Breton 4; and Acadie-Bathurst 4, Saint John 3 (SO).
At Shawinigan, Que., Vandall scored his second and Philippe Paradis had the other goal in the third for the Cataractes.
Vincent Bourgeois scored on the power play with one second remaining in regulation for the Juniors (19-16-1-0) to ruin the shutout bid by Gabriel Girard, who stopped 30 shots for the Cataractes. Montreal netminder Jean-Francois Berube made 32 saves.
Voltigeurs 6, Foreurs 3
At Drummondville, Que., the holiday break did little to cool off the Voltigeurs as they downed Val-d'Or for their 18th straight victory.
Yannick Riendeau scored his 26th and 27th of the season to surpass teammate Dany Masse for QMJHL goal-scoring lead. Gabriel Dumont, Marc-Olivier Vachon, Philippe Lefebvre and Samson Mahbod scored the other goals for Drummondville (30-4-0-2).
Samuel Morneau, Shawn Morton-Boutin and Maxime Sauve replied for the Foreurs (8-26-1-3).
Tigres 4, Maineiacs 3
At Victoriaville, Que., Maxime Tanguay had two power-play goals at the Tigres edged Lewiston.
Jonathan Bonneau and Olivier Hinse also scored for Victoriaville (19-19-0-1).
Maxime Gratchev scored twice for the Maineiacs (13-25-0-0), while Pierre-Olivier Morin added the other goal on a penalty shot.
Remparts 3, Drakkar 2
At Baie-Comeau, Que., Mikhail Stefanovich's goal with 19 seconds remaining in regulation gave Quebec the victory over the Drakkar.
Marc-Olivier Vallerand and Mikael Tam scored in the first period for the Remparts (27-8-0-2), with Jonathan Audy-Marchessault adding a pair of assists.
Gabriel Bourque and Guillaume Goulet replied in the second period for Baie-Comeau (9-21-4-2).
Olympiques 4, Huskies 2
At Gatineau, Que., Alexandre Touchette scored on the power play and added another on a penalty shot as the Olympiques doubled Rouyn-Noranda.
Joshua Domingues and Alexandre Quesnel had the other goals for Gatineau (16-18-1-2).
Christophe Losier and Marc-Andre Bourdon scored for the Huskies (19-13-3-2).
Sagueneens 8, Oceanic 2
At Chicoutimi, Que., Mathieu Populus scored a hat trick as the Sagueneens routed Rimouski.
Antoine Roussel had a pair of goals for Chicoutimi (15-17-2-2), with Dominic Jalbert, Nicolas Deschamps and Luc-Olivier Blain adding singles.
Patrick Delisle-Houde and Francois Houde scored for the Oceanic (22-16-0-0).
Wildcats 3, Mooseheads 2
At Moncton, N.B., Simon Jodoin's goal 8:16 into the third period broke a 2-2 tie as the Wildcats edged Halifax.
Pierre-Marc Lessard and Randy Cameron completed the scoring for Moncton (27-3-2-3).
Jan Stransky and Graham Bona scored for the Mooseheads (10-25-1-1).
Rocket 7, Screaming Eagles 4
At Charlottetown, Chris Doyle scored three goals as the Rocket downed Cape Breton.
Joel Champagne had a goal and three assists for P.E.I. (13-19-3-5). Brandon Street, Benjamin Casavant and Lucas McKinley also scored for the Rocket.
Jean-Christophe Gauthier, Robert Slaney, Francis Meilleur and Joey Haddad had the goals for the Screaming Eagles (25-12-1-1).
Titan 4, Sea Dogs 3 (SO)
At Bathurst, N.B., Spencer Jezegou scored in regulation and added the deciding goal in the shootout as the Titan defeated Saint John.
Vincent Couture had a pair of goals for Acadie-Bathurst (15-16-5-3).
Ryan Sparling, Keven Guerette-Charland and Alex Grant countered for the Sea Dogs (21-15-2-2).