Around the QMJHL: February 27th to March 3rd
Get caught up on the latest news around the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and a glimpse on what’s coming this weekend.
Wildcats ends drought
On Saturday, February 25th, the Moncton Wildcats hosted the Sherbrooke Phoenix at the Moncton Coliseum. A few minutes before the start of the game, the Wildcats had lost their last 25 games and were just two defeats away from joining QMJHL’s record holder Shawinigan Dynamos with 27 consecutive losses. With a two-goal lead with less then two minutes to go, the sky fell on Moncton. Two quick goals from Hugo Roy and Marek Zachar in 33 seconds silenced the home crowd and tied the game at four a piece. But with 19 seconds to play, Julien Tessier finds the back of the net and sows the hysteria in the Coliseum. Tessier secured the Wildcats’ first victory in 2017 and halted the streak at 25. The Wildcats enjoyed their first win since December 17th, 2016. Summary
2017 Marcel-Robert Trophy candidates revealed
The names of 18 candidates for the Marcel-Robert Trophy, which will be presented at the Golden Pucks Gala on April 5th, were released. Each player selected receives a $400 scholarship. The three finalists will receive an additional $600 scholarship and the winner will be awarded, in addition to the Marcel-Robert Trophy, a $1 000 bursary. Full list
Morand, Montpetit and Samuel named the three stars of the week
Antoine Morand, Étienne Montpetit and Antoine Samuel were named the three stars of the week prior to the period from February 13th to 19th, 2017.
The first star of the week is awarded to Acadie-Bathurst Titan forward, Antoine Morand. In three games, the Châteauguay native scored three goals and four assists for a total of seven points and finished the week with a +6 rating. In an offensive match, he amassed two assists in a 8-7 victory over the Saint John Sea Dogs. In another win, this time against the Halifax Mooseheads, he obtained two helpers again to allow the Titan to win 3-2. In his last game Sunday, against the Sherbrooke Phoenix, he registered his first hat-trick of the season, propelling his team to a 6-3 victory, an eighth straight win for the Titan.
The second star of the week belongs to the Val-d’Or Foreurs goaltender, Étienne Montpetit. In two games, both against the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, the 19-year-old won both by a score of 2-1, one in overtime, finishing the week with a goals-against average of 0.99. The goaltender stopped 65 of the 67 shots he faced, including a 37 save-performance where he was awarded the first star of the game, which was his 75th regular season victory in the QMJHL.
The Baie-Comeau Drakkar goaltender, Antoine Samuel, is the recipient of the third star of the week. In three games, the goaltender faced 128 shots, an average of 43 shots per game, while maintaining a 2.35 goals against average and a 0.945 save percentage. In a 5-2 victory against the Remparts in Quebec, he was named the first star of the game, making 39 saves. Thereafter, he made 35 saves in a 2-1 loss against the Val-d’Or Foreurs. Finally, in his last game of the week, he again received first star honours, blocking 47 of the 50 shots he faced, in a 3-1 loss against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.
Sprong, Abramov and Melancon named February’s three stars of the month
Daniel Sprong, Vitalii Abramov and TJ Melancon were named the three stars for the month of February.
The first star of the month is awarded to Charlottetown Islanders’ forward, Daniel Sprong. In 11 games, the Pittsburgh Penguins prospect cumulated a total of 26 points, including 14 goals and maintained a +22 rating. The star forward scored the winning goal three times, in addition to recording the insurance goal on two separate occasions. In total, he compiled eight multi-point games, including three of four points. The 19-year-old got two three goals and one assist performances, once against the Drummondville Voltigeurs and the other facing the Moncton Wildcats.
The second star of the month was handed to Gatineau forward Vitalii Abramov. In 10 games, he scored 11 goals and added as many helpers for a total of 22 points and maintained a +12 rating with nine of his 10 games on the plus side. He had seven multi-point games and was blanked from the scoresheet only once. His best performance came against the Sherbrooke Phoenix on February 17th, in a 6-2 win, with three goals and two assists.
The third star of the month is Blainville-Boisbriand Armada’s defenseman, TJ Melancon. In 10 games, the 20-year-old veteran scored six goals for a total of 11 points and maintained a +13 rating, with no penalty minutes. He scored one game-winning goal, and two others proved to be insurance goals, in addition to having three multi-point games. On February 26th, in a 3-0 road win in Drummondville, Melancon was selected as the 1st star with two goals, allowing the Armada to equal the QMJHL record for the most shutout wins in a season with eight.
Mark Grametbauer named February’s Vaughn goaltender of the month
Goaltender for the Charlottetown Islanders, Mark Grametbauer was named VAUGHN Goaltender of the Month for February.
At the age of 18, the Halifax, Nova Scotia native goaltender won five of his six starts in February, finishing the month with a 1.67 goals against average and a .927 save percentage. In five of the six games he took part, he allowed a maximum of two goals to the opposing teams. He obtained a shutout in a 34 save performance against the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada on February 24, in a 3-0 road win. He even added a couple of helpers during the month. Details
Three QMJHL teams in the CHL Top 10
On Wednesday, the Canadian Hockey League announced the composition of the CHL Top 10 Rankings. The Saint John Sea Dogs remain the most deserving team of the league as they retained their third position. The Charlottetown Islanders had a good run last week in the QMJHL. In doing so, they climbed from 10th to eight place. As for the Shawinigan Cataractes, the third team that made the Top 10, they dropped from the sixth to the 10th echelon and closes the rankings. In honourable mentions, we have two QMJHL teams with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. Details
Chicago Blackhawks ink Matthew Highmore
On Wednesday, forward Matthew Highmore of the Saint John Sea Dogs agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the National Hockey League’s very own Chicago Blackhawks. Highmore has recorded career-highs in goals (32) and points (82) through 58 games of his fifth season in the QMJHL. He leads the Sea Dogs in assists with 50 and in points with 82. Highmore was Saint John’s first round pick (#8) in 2012. In 2014, he was invited by the Montreal Canadiens to participate in the rookie training camp but was then released. The same scenario happened last summer when he was invited by the Florida Panthers. The Halifax, Nova Scotia native is in his last junior season.
German Rubtsov signed with the Philadelphia Flyers
On the same day as Highmore, the Philadelphia Flyers signed forward German Rubtsov to an entry level contract. The Chekhov, Russia native was selected by the Flyers 22nd overall at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft last June in Buffalo. This season, with the Chicoutimi Saguenéens, he recorded 8 goals and 12 assists for 20 points in 14 games. Rubtsov was a member of the Russian National Team that brought back the bronze medal at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship. He also played for Team Russia in the annual CIBC Canada-Russia Series that was held in Baie-Comeau and Chicoutimi. He began the 2016-2017 campaign in Russia’s Junior League with Vityazi Chekhov where he amassed seven goals and eight assists in 15 games.He also appeared in 15 games in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).
The Armada in the record book
Thursday night was the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada’s evening as Joël Bouchard’s team started his journey in the Maritimes. With a 3-0 victory over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, Blainville-Boisbriand established a new record in the league, eclipsing the eight-winning mark without conceding a goal to the opponent with a ninth shutout-victory this season. For his part, Samuel Montembeault is approaching the record of seven shutouts in a campaign. The 20-year-old goaltender could join Roberto Luongo, Adam Russo, Kevin Poulin, Philippe Cadorette and Nick Sanza. Details
Titan going for a ninth straight
On Saturday night, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan will be visited by the Rimouski Oceanic and will be looking for a ninth consecutive win this season. With a victory, Mario Pouliot’s team would equal a team record setting back at the 2001-02 campaign where the Titan had won nine consecutive games twice in the span of two months. During the latter sequence, the Titan scored a total of 49 goals, an average of six goals per game.
Listen and watch
Tonight, you can catch the Saint John Sea Dogs hosting the Rimouski Oceanic on Rogers TV live from the Harbour Station in Saint John. Game start at 7:00 pm Atlantic Time. On Saturday, tune in on Rogers TV as well as the Acadie-Bathurst Titan host the Rimouski Oceanic at the K.C. Irving Regional Center in Bathurst. Puck drop at 7:00 pm Atlantic time.
Friday March 3rd: 7 games
Halifax Mooseheads at Cape Breton Screaming Eagles – 7:00 pm AST
Rimouski Océanic at Saint John Sea Dogs – 7:00 pm AST
Gatineau Olympiques at Sherbrooke Phoenix – 7:00 pm EST
Moncton Wildcats at Baie-Comeau Drakkar – 7:30 pm EST
Québec Remparts at Chicoutimi Saguenéens – 7:30 pm EST
Val-d’Or Foreurs at Rouyn-Noranda Huskies – 7:30 pm EST
Drummondville Voltigeurs at Shawinigan Cataractes – 7:30 pm EST
Saturday March 4th: 5 games
Québec Remparts at Baie-Comeau Drakkar – 4:00 pm EST
Moncton Wildcats at Chicoutimi Saguenéens – 4:00 pm EST
Rimouski Océanic at Acadie-Bathurst Titan – 7:00 pm AST
Blainville-Boisbriand Armada at Charlottetown Islanders – 7:00 pm AST
Victoriaville Tigres at Rouyn-Noranda Huskies – 7:00 pm EST
Sunday March 5th: 5 games
Blainville-Boisbriand Armada at Acadie-Bathurst Titan – 3:00 pm AST
Halifax Mooseheads at Charlottetown Islanders – 3:00 pm AST
Cape Breton Screaming Eagles at Saint John Sea Dogs – 3:00 pm AST
Sherbrooke Phoenix at Shawinigan Cataractes – 4:00 pm EST
Victoriaville Tigres at Val-d’Or Foreurs – 4:00 pm EST