The fuzzy-cheeked skater who opened the Allen Americans’ 2010-11 scoring was playing in the junior ranks a year ago, but it took him just :22 into his first pro game to announce his arrival.
Left wing Alexandre Quesnel, the pride of Pointe-Claire, Province of Quebec (a few miles southwest of Montreal), swiftly skated into the slot and calmly roofed a wrister over Texas Brahmas starting goalie Kevin Beech’s left shoulder to touch off a three goal outburst in the game’s opening five minutes and point the Americans toward a 5-2 Opening Night victory on Oct. 15. Allen also won a 5-4 shootout victory over the visiting Brahmas on Saturday evening for a two-game sweep of the short Central Hockey League season-opening homestand.
“I was surprised to get a scoring chance so quickly,” said the likeable 5-11, 180-lb. Quesnel, who took a pass from linemate Tobias Whelan and skated into the slot before registering his first goal as a professional. “I got a great pass and got rid of the shot pretty fast. The chance came so quickly — it wasn’t something I was anticipating.
“You know, the game up here is a lot different from what it was in junior, and the transition isn’t as easy as it may have seemed with me scoring so quickly,” added Quesnel, who skated for three different teams in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, including a 37-goal campaign in 2008-09 for Gatineau.
Americans alum Dustin Donaghy and newcomer Judd Blackwater added to the early lead within the first five minutes, whipping the crowd of 3,151 into a frenzy. Allen gamely outplayed Texas and hung onto a 3-2 lead through the 3rd period before Quesnel set up Liam Hoculak for a goal in the last two minutes and Erik Adams added a shorthanded empty netter.
The Brahmas’ Tyler Allen (first period) and Greg Hogeboom (second period) made for a tight one-goal game for much of the 3rd period despite Allen’s 36-22 shots advantage. Wayne Savage made 30 saves after spelling Beech after Allen’s three-goal outburst and earned the game’s third star by keeping Texas in the game despite facing continuous pressure from Allen.
In Saturday’s victory, the Americans poured 58 shots on Savage but needed a 4-3 victory in a 10-round shootout to earn the two points. Newcomers Blackwater, David Strathman and Justin DaCosta and returnee Bruce Graham scored in the penalty shot extravaganza, as did the Brahmas’ Jason Deitsch, Chad Woollard and Jeff Hazelwood.
Trailing 2-0 after first period goals by Texas’s Woollard and Hogeboom, Allen answered on tallies by returnees Graham and Jarret Lukin in the middle session. Hazelwood and Allen newcomer David Nimmo traded goals to make it 3-3 after two, and Allen’s Strathman and Brahmas’ sniper Jason Krischuk each scored on power plays to require extra time.
Americans’ rookie goalie Adrien LeMay, making his first pro start after spending the last two seasons with the QMJHL’s Lewiston MAINEiacs, turned aside 32 shots and stood tall in the shootout, while Savage made 53 saves in another outstanding performance.