Saturday, April 29, 2017

Armada advance to QMJHL final

The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada have advanced to the President Cup final.

The Armada eliminated the Charlottetown Islanders this afternoon on the Island, winning 5-2 to take the semifinal series in five games.

Armada goaltender Samuel Montembeault made 31 saves - including 28 in the first two periods - in the win. Charlottetown outshot the Armada 14-4 in the opening period but could beat Montembeault just once (and twice overall).

The Islanders were without their top player, Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Daniel Sprong, for this game due to suspension.

Charlottetown won the first game of this series but went on to lose four straight. The Isles had a difficult time keeping the puck out of their own net, allowing four or more goals in each of the final four games of the series - this after a Game 1 shutout.

This will be labelled an upset, but not a big one. The Islanders finished fourth overall in the league standings with 96 points while the Armada were right behind them with 92. The biggest surprise of this series is that it ended so abruptly, going just five games.

This series loss will no doubt sting in Charlottetown for some time. The team loaded up at the trade deadline with Sprong returning. Making it the semifinals - the first trip in franchise history - is certainly a accomplishment, but the team had to have had higher hopes following the moves they had made.

The Armada, meanwhile, have been quite a story this post-season. After sweeping Drummondville in the opening round, they fell down 3-1 in their second round series with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. But the squad rattled off three straight wins to take the series in seven. They have gone 7-1 since being down 3-1 to the Titan.

This will be the first trip to the President Cup final for the Armada/Montreal Junior/St. John's Fog Devils franchise - Saint John's expansion cousins. The team has made the playoffs every year of their existence, making it to the semifinals twice previously. It was only a matter of time before they made a final.

The Armada will play the winner of the Sea Dogs - Chicoutimi Sagueneens semifinal series. Game 6 of that series is tomorrow at 5 p.m. in Chicoutimi. The Sea Dogs lead 3-2.

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