Shantz turns back Remparts

Quebec Remparts Mathieu Melanson is stopped by  Peterborough Petes David Shantz in scoreless first...

Quebec Remparts Mathieu Melanson is stopped by Peterborough Petes David Shantz in scoreless first period Memorial Cup action in Moncton, N.B. on Friday, May 19, 2006.(CP PHOTO/Andrew Vaughan)

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

MONCTON -- David Shantz bumped into his idol, Patrick Roy, the other day as the Memorial Cup participants prepared for the 2006 tournament.

"I wanted to talk to him when I saw him, but I was so nervous I made eye contact with him and then I just turned away," Shantz said. "I couldn't handle it. I wanted to say hello, but I buckled under pressure."

Shantz did no such thing last night. Rather than let the heat get to him in a toasty Moncton Coliseum, Shantz put on a brilliant show for the Peterborough Petes, making 45 saves as the Ontario Hockey League champions beat Roy's Quebec Remparts 3-2 before a large crowd of 6,662 in the opening game of the tournament.

KEY SAVES

Roy, the coach of the Remparts and one of its owners, tipped his hat to Shantz.

"We needed perfect shots to beat him," said Roy, who is eligible for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame this year. "He made key saves in key situations. He was sharp and it seems like he is playing with a lot of confidence."

Outshot 47-29, the Petes would not have had much of a chance to win without Shantz. But with less than five minutes to play in the third, and only 13 seconds after Quebec's Joe Ryan tied it, Jordan Morrison scored the winner when he went high on goalie Cedrick Desjardins.

Steve Downie, who assisted on Morrison's goal, and Jamie Tardif also scored for the Petes. Maxime Lacroix also scored for Quebec, which advanced to the Memorial Cup after losing to the host Moncton Wildcats in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final.

Time and again, Shantz frustrated the quick Remparts, a team which he said easily would be the fastest in the OHL. At the top of Shantz's list of victims was flashy Russian Alexander Radulov, who may have been an ice dancer in a previous life. Radulov led the Canadian Hockey League in scoring with 152 points during the regular season but did not record a point last night, though it was not for lack of trying. On the several occasions he deked through the Petes defenders, Shantz was there to thwart him.

"A player with the skill of Radulov, he was amazing out there," Petes coach Dick Todd said. "(Shantz) was a huge factor, no question. I give full credit to the Quebec team. For whatever reasons, we did not play as well as we are capable. (Shantz) came to the fore and saved our bacon."

Shantz's performance in such an intense atmosphere is the latest chapter in a nice comeback. After he lost the starter's role to Michael Ouzas with the Mississauga IceDogs in 2004-05, Shantz was traded to the Petes in the off-season.

A second-round pick by the Florida Panthers in 2004, Shantz also is taking another crack at earning a contract with the NHL team.

"Last year was pretty tough and for myself, a fresh start was good and it was good to get out of Mississauga," the Hamilton native said. "I was pretty excited when I got the call saying the deal had been completed. I felt pretty good (last night)."

Radulov, a Nashville Predators prospect, did not.

"He almost saved everything," Radulov said. "He was unbelievable."


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