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  • Writer's pictureMarc Lalonde

The season of healing is now playoff season

OK, I’ve NEVER been more tempted to break my sugar-free year than I was the last few days, y’all. In case you are living under a rock – or on a different rock, anyway – than you know that most of Montreal was without electricity for a few days last week.

It sucked. The first night by candlelight was a novelty, and that novelty faded very fast the next day when I along with approximately 500,000 others descended on Fairview Pointe Claire shopping centre to take advantage of their many, many plugs in the floor, their free, unending array of juice for my nearly-dead phone, their warm, heated atmosphere and their Wi-Fi.

Thank goodness for Fairview, which was almost impossible for me to get to and do some work, because a tree had fallen and blocked off my street.

But, the tree was cleared, I got to Fairview and when I did, what I saw made me feel like I was living in the fall of Saigon. People were wandering aimlessly, in search of energy to power their phones and tablets, confused by their lack of connectivity.

My office at Monster Gym lost power – and did for 72 hours until Saturday morning – and so I couldn’t even see my clients or work out. It kind of sucked. I got some home workouts done, but without heat, music or power they were unsatisfying and rote.

But I did them.

That said, the power failure made me realize a few things. First, the stimulation we get from electronic devices throughout the day is tremendously exhausting.

Second, I don’t really need electricity at night. Reading by candlelight and dozing off that way was fine by me. My one issue was hot water. I like to shower every night before bed and crawl into bed clean.

By Friday night, we got power back for about 23 minutes, and that time was enough for my hot water tank to heat up. By the time we had plunged back into darkness again – AGAIN – I was able to have a hot shower and that made everything so much more tolerable.

So, hot water, candlelight and exercise were all I really, absolutely needed to function, and I came out on the other side feeling not-so-terrible about the state of affairs.

I still feel mildly traumatized by the whole affair – and Thursday felt so much like the first day of the COVID-19 lockdown that it brought back very unpleasant memories.

But I never once strayed from my year without sugar during the whole thing, but I do admit my cravings were higher than they have been at any point.

So high, in fact, I very nearly jumped on all manner of goodies in the section of Costco where they keep the candy on the second day of the blackout. Oh, my goodness. I’m proud to say, dear readers that it was being accountable to you that kept me on the straight and narrow and away from the temptations.

On a more positive note, life was more normal-feeling on day 3 of the blackout. The Good Friday holiday meant Game 1 of my daughter’s CEGEP AAA women’s hockey final kicked off that afternoon at 3:30 p.m. down in the eastern townships.

Last week, my daughter’s John Abbott Islanders women’s hockey team upset favoured Limoilou in a thrilling Game 3 overtime affair 2-1 to punch their ticket to the finals against regular-season champion Champlain-Lennoxville, which started Friday afternoon at Bishop’s University’s beautiful rink on the campus the two schools share.

Well, I’ll be darned if John Abbott didn’t win that one, also, and forgive me for a moment while I shift gears and brag about my daughter. The 3-1 win was yet another indication that Bella – as we all call her – always lives up to Jimmy Johnson’s credo that big-time players play big in big-time games.

Oh, and she did, assisting on the eventual winning goal and handling checking responsibilities on her league’s version of Connor McDavid, Lennoxville’s dynamic centre Gabrielle Santerre. The kid was unbelievable and I was once more inspired by her and in awe of her ability to rise to any occasion.

She’s a rookie on a very, very young (only three players will leave the program at year’s end) team and for the last two weeks, two of the team’s top forwards, Jade Barbirati and Manon Le Scodan, had to be out of the lineup as they represented France at the women’s world championships, that are currently ongoing in the greater Toronto area. In addition, another top-six winger, Ellie Lacombe, sprained an ankle and was unable to suit up, so Bella stepped up and played an incredible game as the top-line centre.

Barbirati had been the team’s number-one centre and Le Scodan a top-line winger, so my daughter had to step into the number-one centre role and all the team did while she did that was play their best two games of the season to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five championship series.

The Islanders are looking to repeat as provincial champions.

Defencemen Lea Kosowski, Meghane Lesage, Megane Larivee, Naomie Forand and Sidney Ullmann all played collectively one of their best games of the season. Sniper Emilie Lussier scored twice – including the clincher into an empty net – and forwards Julianne Pirollo, Val Lamoureux, Toby Graham, Mahely Charbonneau and Kaitlyn Fortier (who moved from defence to forward) all put forth admirable efforts.

The fourth line of Fortier, Sam Morello and Alicia Macdonald were also particularly good in that game, cycling the puck down deep and keeping the dangerous Cougars pinned in their own end.

And when they got down to the Islanders’ end, goaltender Alessia Merola shut the door again and again in an incredible performance between the pipes in a game in which the Isles were outshot 34-18.

But it’s my blog, so I’m going to brag on my daughter.

You gotta see this kid play. It’s unbelievable. She’s fast, strong, determined and plays with love in her heart.

What she’s particularly good at is causing chaos in the other team’s end. I have never seen someone at any level of hockey drive possession like she does. You can’t score without the puck and if she’s going to chase it down, her possession stats are something like 66 percent.

It’s incredible to watch and I almost feel sorry for other team’s defencemen who have to turn and retrieve a puck in the corner with Bella bearing down on them.


But you don’t have to take my word for it.

This coming Saturday, the Islanders have a chance to take a 2-0 series lead as the series shifts back to John Abbott’s Macdonald College rink. Puck drop is at 2:30 p.m. and admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students and free for John Abbott College students.

Word to the wise: bring a blanket and jacket because the rink is COLD and almost a hundred years old. Bring drinks and snacks, too, because the vending machines that were the only source for refreshments at games are now mostly empty and not being restocked.

But those facilities are another story for another day.

Come on down next Saturday and cheer on the Islanders, who will have Le Scodan and Barbirati back in the lineup and an appropriate welcome back is in order.

Above all, it’s a chance to watch some very, very high-quality women’s hockey – one that is likely showcasing the stars of the women’s game to come.

Lalonde. Lussier. Le Scodan. Barbirati. Santerre. Morin.

Remember those names for down the road,

And remember who told you first.

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