Monday, November 29, 2010

Roy Returns, Represents

It has been, and will be, a couple of eventful days for Olivier Roy. He made his return to Cape Breton Sunday afternoon, for the first time as a member of the visiting team, and backstopped his Acadie-Bathurst Titan to a win over the Screaming Eagles. Roy played (spectacularly) in Sydney for the last three seasons before being dealt in the off-season. The Eagles visited Bathurst earlier this season, only to be shut down as Roy earned his 100th career win, and it seemed that another deflating result was on the way in Roy’s Cape Breton homecoming, with him sitting on a goose egg until about 9 minutes left in the game. He stopped 23 of 25 shots in the 4-2 victory.

On top of coming away with the win, he also got a warm reception from the crowd of 3,363 at Centre 200. I missed the pre-game, but as I understand it, he got an ovation when he was announced as the starting goaltender. Deservedly so, as the audience recognized the outstanding work of a goalie that stood on his head to deliver wins that the Eagles had no business collecting over the course of his time there. He got another (relatively) loud ovation when he was named 2nd star, though the crowd had thinned out considerably as the game was delayed for penalties to be sorted out with three minutes to go and the home team down 4-1.

Next up for Olivier Roy: Buffalo, New York. Hockey Canada will name the selection camp roster for the World Juniors Monday and Roy will be at camp, he’ll make the cut, and he’ll be the starter as Canada seeks to reclaim its spot at the top of the podium. For Eagles fans, it’ll be great to watch him dazzle on the international stage as he did in the black and gold for three seasons. Canada will get to discover the secret that we’ve known for three years; the goalie factory in Cape Breton has produced another beauty. The sting will come when Roy shuts down the Russians or kicks out four scoring chances on an American powerplay, and Gord Miller utters the phrase, “Olivier Roy of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.” Watching Roy reach the peak of his junior career representing the colours of another club will be bittersweet, but that’s no reason to not be damned proud of him. And a gold medal sure wouldn’t hurt.

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