CHL Top-10 Spotlight: Armada climb into first place
Despite recent injuries to stars Samuel Montembeault and Jeremy Roy, the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada have climbed the QMJHL standings, vaulting themselves into first place over the weekend with a pair of road wins in Rouyn-Noranda and Val-d’Or.
With wins in seven of their last 10 contests, the Armada are included in this week’s edition of the CHL Top 10 Rankings, boasting the most points in the QMJHL along with the league’s third best winning percentage of .708.
With former NHL defenceman, general manager and head coach Joel Bouchard leading the way, the Armada accomplished the rare feat of winning both games on their northern road trip. “It’s never easy to come to Abitibi (Rouyn-Noranda, Val-d’Or) and win two games for any team in this league,” Bouchard told Marco Brunelle of Nord Info et Voix des Mille-Iles. “I believe this is the second time in our history that we have done this.”
In the absence of Florida Panthers prospect Montembeault who leads the QMJHL with a 1.85 goals-against average, 18-year-old Francis Leclerc stepped in and backstopped the Armada to victory.
Blainville-Boisbriand has surrendered a QMJHL-low 55 goals as Montembeault and Leclerc have had help from a defence corps that includes overage veterans TJ Melancon and Guillaume Beaudoin along with 18-year-old Pascal Corbeil and sophomore Antoine Crete-Belzile. San Jose Sharks prospect Jeremy Roy has been out of the lineup since October 22nd with an injured knee.
Up front, 19-year-old Alexandre Alain, who represented the QMJHL in the CIBC Canada Russia Series last week, leads the club in scoring with 22 points (10b,12a) in as many games. He is joined by draft eligible 17-year-old Joel Teasdale, who has 21 points (9b,12a) in 24 games and recently named CHL Player of the Week Alexander Katerinakis (5b,10a) in leading the way offensively.
The Armada have the difficult task of competing in a division alongside ever competitive Rouyn-Noranda and Val-d’Or, but appear poised to get back to their trend of 40+ wins (2011-15) after taking a step back last season.
The Armada look to pad their lead atop the West Division on Friday when they kick off a four game home stand that includes matchups against three opponents currently under the .500 mark in Acadie-Bathurst, Baie-Comeau and Sherbrooke.
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