Around the QMJHL: April 17-21
Second round goes down to the wire as Playoffs continues
After eliminating last year’s President Cup champions in the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, the upstart Chicoutimi Sagueneens faces another giant in the Saint John Sea Dogs who have yet to lose in the postseason. Central to Chicoutimi’s playoff success has been Vancouver Canucks prospect Dmitry Zhukenov who leads team scoring with 16 points (5-11–16). Big Carolina Hurricanes prospect and Canadian National Junior Team member Nicolas Roy (6-7–13), overage scorer Joey Ratelle (5-5–10) and former QMJHL Champion Olivier Galipeau (4-7–11) have given head coach Yanick Jean plenty to work with against playoff opponents in Victoriaville and Rouyn-Noranda.
The Sea Dogs have steamrolled their way into the Semi-Finals as star defenseman Thomas Chabot has continued to turn heads with 13 points (3-10–13) over eight games. Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick Mathieu Joseph (7-8–15) leads the team in playoff scoring as the Sea Dogs are into the final four for a second straight year. Saint John took both regular season meetings against Chicoutimi, winning by scores of 1-0 on January 20th and 4-2 on February 18th.
The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada come off a seven game series victory to face a fresh Charlottetown Islanders club that took care of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in their second straight playoff sweep. The Armada have relied heavily upon QMJHL Playoff scoring leader Alex Barré-Boulet (10-11–21) after being forced into some uncharacteristically high-scoring outcomes in their second round series with Acadie-Bathurst. After posting a QMJHL-low 171 goals against during the regular season, the Armada surrendered 17 goals over their first four games against the Titan before locking things down to allow just three over Games 5, 6, and 7. The Armada feature a capable power play operating at 30% in the QMJHL Playoffs, one they will need against Charlottetown’s 92.9 percent penalty kill as Jim Hulton’s undefeated Islanders have been playing some very good hockey.
Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Daniel Sprong (7-7–14) and Ottawa Senators first rounder Filip Chlapik (3-11–14) give Charlottetown dangerous scoring options on each of their top two lines while a back end that features Carl Neill (1-5–6), Nicolas Meloche (2-3–5) and Guillaume Brisebois (0-4–4) has shown itself capable of being an effective weapon on both the offensive and defensive side of the puck.
Canada concludes preliminary round second in Group A
Kristian Vesalainen closed out the preliminary round with a hat-trick to lead Finland over Canada 6-3 at the World Under-18 Hockey Championship. Canada ends the preliminary round in second place in Group A with a 3-1-0 record, four points behind first place Finland who finished 4-0-0-0. Entwistle led Canada in scoring through the four game preliminary schedule, recording three goals, three assists and six points. Canada now travels to Spisska Nova Ves for a Quarter-Final matchup against the third place team in Group B on Thursday. The team will face Sweden in the quarter-finals. Details
Fiore signs with Ducks
The NHL hockey club, the Anaheim Ducks, have signed Cape Breton Screaming Eagles forward, Giovanni Fiore to a three-year entry-level contract. The overager recorded 52 goals and 90 points with a +36 rating and 42 penalty minutes in 61 games this season. He set career highs in goals, assists, points and plus/minus, while leading Cape Breton with 8 goals and 12 points in 11 playoff contests. During the regular season, Fiore led the league in goals, co-led in power-play goals, ranked tied for fifth in scoring and seventh in plus/minus. The 6’1”, 195-pound winger became the second 50-goal scorer in Cape Breton franchise history. Fiore also received QMJHL First All-Star Team honours. The Laval, Quebec native collected 114 goals, 110 assists and 224 points with a +45 rating and 153 penalty minutes in 281 lifetime games with Acadie-Bathurst (2012-13), Drummondville (2012-14), Shawinigan (2013-16) and Cape Breton (2015-17).
Armada completes the comeback
The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada bore the final blow to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan Tuesday night at the Centre d’Excellence Sports Rousseau with a 7-1 victory. Joel Bouchard’s team completes the comeback after trailing 3-1 in the series and reaching the semi-final for the third time in their history. The Basses-Laurentides club became the 15th team in QMJHL history to accomplish this feat. The team now has an appointment with the Charlottetown Islanders in the semifinals. With the passing of his grandfather during the series, goaltender Francis Leclerc replaced Samuel Montembeault with five minutes to go in the third to finished the game. A fine gesture from the Armada.
There will be a new champion
The Chicoutimi Sagueneens completed what few people thought likely possible Tuesday evening at the Iamgold Arena in Rouyn-Noranda. Trailing 3-1 with 10 minutes left in the third period against the Huskies, Chicoutimi started a spectacular comeback, before winning 4-3 in overtime. Olivier Galipeau, who had tied the game with less than two minutes to go, while being shorthanded, played hero at the beginning of the overtime period. As a result, the Sagueneens eliminated last season defending champions and thus reached the semifinals for the first time since 2012, as they set to compete against the Saint John Sea Dogs. In the 2012 spring tournament, Chicoutimi had stumbled on the Sea Dogs who had eliminated them in five games before winning the President’s Cup.
Bergeron nominated as finalist to Frank Selke honours
The National Hockey League announced that Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron has been named a finalist for the 2017 Frank J. Selke Trophy, which rewards the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.The winner will be announced at the 2017 NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 21st. This is the sixth straight season Bergeron has been named a Selke finalist. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound centerman won the award in 2012, 2014 and 2015, and could become just the second four-time winner in NHL history, tying Hall of Famer Bob Gainey. Bergeron is a former Acadie-Bathurst Titan player and spent one season with the team during the 2002-03 campaign. In 70 games, he scored 23 goals, adding 50 helpers for 73 points. The L’Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec native was selected by the Bruins in the second round (45th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
Philippe Myers headed to Lehigh Valley
The Philadelphia Flyers, have reassigned defenseman Philippe Myers from the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies to Lehigh Valley, in the American Hockey League (AHL). He will join the Phantoms, as they are heading to playoffs. A 20-year-old blueliner from Moncton, New Brunswick, Myers is coming off an impressive four-year stint at Rouyn-Noranda where he compiled 29 goals, 63 assists and 92 total points across 203 lifetime games with the Huskies. At 6’5″, 202-pound, he produced a point per game performance this year with 35 points (10-25—35) in just 34 games. A member of Team Canada’s silver medal-winning team at the 2017 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, Myers was signed by Philadelphia to a three-year, entry-level contract on September 21st, 2015.
Canada’s run at Under-18 hockey Championship comes to an end
Sweden was one step ahead of Canada the entire game, eventually taking a 7-3 victory in quarter-final action at the 2017 World Under-18 Hockey Championship. Matthew Strome (Hamilton Bulldogs/OHL), MacKenzie Entwistle (Hamilton Bulldogs/OHL) and Maxime Comtois (Victoriaville Tigres/QMJHL) scored goals, but the Swedes would prove to be too much, outshooting Canada 34-28 as Jacob Olofsson scored twice and defenseman Erik Brannstrom had a goal and an assist. The quarter-final loss marks the second straight year Canada has failed to medal at the World Under-18 Hockey Championship after four straight podium appearances from 2012-15. Details
This week, the QMJHL’s representative for the Canadian Hockey League’s CIBC Showdown is Charlottetown Islanders’ forward Pascal Aquin. Link
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(8) Chicoutimi Sagueneens at (1) Saint John Sea Dogs
Game #1 at Saint John – Friday April 21, 18:00 pm AT
Game #2 at Saint John – Saturday April 22, 18:00 pm AT
Game #3 at Chicoutimi – Tuesday April 25, 19:30 pm EST
Game #4 at Chicoutimi – Wednesday April 26, 19:30 pm EST
***Game #5 at Saint John – Friday April 28, 19:00 pm AT
***Game #6 at Chicoutimi – Sunday April 30, 16:30 pm EST
***Game #7 at Saint John – Tuesday May 2, 19:00 pm AT
Series tied 0-0
(5) Blainville-Boisbriand Armada at (4) Charlottetown Islanders
Game #1 at Charlottetown – Friday April 21, 19:00 pm AT
Game #2 at Charlottetown – Saturday April 22, 19:00 pm AT
Game #3 at Boisbriand – Tuesday April 25, 19:30 pm EST
Game #4 at Boisbriand – Wednesday April 26, 19:30 pm EST
***Game #5 at Charlottetown – Saturday April 29, 16:00 pm AT
***Game #6 at Boisbriand – Sunday April 30, 16:00 pm EST
***Game #7 at Charlottetown – Tuesday May 2, 19:00 pm AT
Series tied 0-0