For the first time in four tries the Amerks were finally able to defeat the Phantoms in a 4-3 overtime thriller. After a shaky first five minutes, I was starting to get an all too familiar feeling about how the game was going to go. However, everything changed when Baptiste hit O’Reilly on a bullet of a centering pass leading to the opening goal. He finished the night with two more assists, including one to set up Fedun for the game winner in overtime. Even though Baptiste was the best player tonight, the X-factor was the work of O’Reilly and Kennedy in the face off circle.
Dupuy also had performed admirably on draws. After losing his first three face offs he was able to turn things around, going 3 for 7 on the night. However, he brought much more to the table then that. His physical play was unmatched by any other player on the ice. Dupuy also registered five shots and an assist, resulting in the most complete game of two-way hockey that I have seen all year. It was not without a few miss steps though. I am going to grade him an A-.
Even though he still has some rust to shake off, Dupuy played a strong offensive game. He got himself in some dangerous situations and was unlucky not to score. He ripped two great shots on the point while covering for Austin to start the night. The first was hard and low creating a rebound and the second he rang off the outside of the post. Later on the power play he snuck into the crease and received a nice pass from O’Reilly. He tried to lift it into the roof of the net, but instead almost sailed it into the upper deck. He continued to be effective on the power play as the game shifted frames. With the game knotted at two in the second, he was able to get to the net and shield a drive from Baptiste on the point. The goalie wasn’t able to see it, and Schneider banged home the rebound. It didn’t look like he ever made contact with the puck, but a generous home book credited him with an assist.
Dupuy’s greatest contributions came on the defensive side of the puck. While fore-checking, he set the tone for the rest of the team. Unlike most centers on the roster, he led the charge pressing defenseman and constantly finished his checks. He didn’t have to pound many defenseman into the boards before one took exception. Early in the second after driving Morin into the glass he came after Dupuy and dropped the gloves. It didn’t go very well for him; Dupuy hit him with strong right hook that eventually toppled him to the ice. The frustrated Phantom had to spend a little time getting stitched up before he could return to serve his time.
Late in the game Dupuy was a defensive anchor. While trying to hang on in regulation he played a major role in keeping the game tied. Filling in for a teammate he drew the difficult task of trying to clear opponents in front of the net. Lambert should pull the tape at the next practice to show his defensive core how it is done. Dupuy stuck tight to his man, lifted his stick, and shepherded him away from the goal. On the final shift of regulation, he harassed a Phantom as he tried to enter the zone and stripped him of the puck. He then cleared it down the ice and locked up a point for the home team.
I think Dupuy has the potential to play 3rd or fourth line minuets at the NHL level. As high physical play starts to trickle into the team’s style he becomes a very important piece to a playoff charge. Once he shakes off the rust I think he can provide a nice spark offensively too. In more than one way he reminds me of William Carrier and he has the potential to have a similar impact on this level and the next.