RIMOUSKI, Que. — Rimouski Oceanic forward Keven Veilleux doesn’t like to wear a mouth guard.
But he might want to reconsider after Windsor’s five-foot-nine Ryan Ellis caught the six-foot-five Pittsburgh Penguins second rounder with a shoulder in the teeth in the first period of Rimouski’s 5-4 win on Sunday.
Veilleux was down on the ice for several minutes before retreating to the dressing room. He made a triumphant return and set up a key Luca Cunti goal in the second period.
“Just some blood in the mouth, that’s it,” Veilleux said. “Playing against him (likely first round NHL pick Ellis), I like that. He was on the ice whenever I was. Same with Marc-Andre Bourdon (on Spitfires forward Taylor Hall). It’s a challenge. It’s great.”
The only thing better would be watching them battle over a best-of-seven series.
Some clubs here haven’t been afraid to ice the puck to relieve pressure.
Drummondville did it at least a half-dozen times early in their 3-2 win over Windsor on Saturday. They won’t be afraid to do it again.
Unlike the NHL, the Canadian Hockey League allows the offending team to change lines after an icing.
“We’re a good faceoff team,” Voltigeurs forward Dany Masse said. “Our coach (Guy Boucher) told us faceoffs and change-ups are going to be huge at the Memorial Cup.
“We’ll ice it if we have to because we believe we can win the draw with our centres. It’s no big deal. When you get to the pros, you just have to change the way you approach that part of the game.”
It was dead silent in the Rimouski dressing room when head coach Clement Jodoin threw the players’ jerseys on the floor and told them to pick them up before Sunday’s game with Windsor.
“We were all wondering where it was going,” Rimouski forward and high-end NHL prospect Jordan Caron said. “Patrice Cormier’s was on top so he picked up his first. We went in order. It’s one of those things to fire a team up.”
Caron always gets pumped about training in the summer. He goes to Montreal and works out with his idol — Tampa Bay star Vinny Lecavalier.
The Lightning forward’s brother Phil is Caron’s agent.
Adding to Windsor’s woes, forward Justin Shugg is out of the Cup after suffering a broken collar bone in Sunday’s physical loss to Rimouski.
The 17-year-old from Niagara Falls had five goals and nine points in 19 playoff games for the Spitfires this season.
He’s the furniture store king whose stores are well-known in the Quebec City region the way Sears, Leon’s, Ikea and The Brick are familiar in the rest of Canada.
But Rimouski Oceanic owner Maurice Tanguay is also a sporting force in the province.
His hockey club is at the Memorial Cup for the third time in 14 years. His son Jacques is co-owner of the Quebec Remparts, who won the tournament in Moncton three years ago.
The family also funds the defending Vanier Cup Laval Rouge et Or football program.
Eric Forest was the Oceanic’s first marketing/administration director. Now, he’s Rimouski’s mayor.
— Compiled by Ryan Pyette