The current QMJHL standings are very exciting. Will Saint John hold onto first place in the general standings? Will Tyler Boland (97 points) resist the offensive up rise of Vitalii Abramov (91) who tallied 22 points in February? Also, see how Antoine Samuel (PHOTO) and his young teammate Justin Blanchette, the young Drakkar goalies, have been distinguishing themselves in the past month.
KEEP AN EYE ON…
- Blainville-Boisbriand ( 82 points | 60 games) – The Armada is going through a scorching trip. The club having allowed the fewest goals this season (153 goals against) will have to face strong offensive teams during the upcoming matchups. How will they fair? Will they be able to hoist the Jean-Rougeau trophy or will they have to fight to maintain their 5th position? The Armada visited Cape Breton (yesterday, 3-0 win), and will visit Charlottetown (Saturday) and Acadie-Bathurst (Sunday). Tuesday, they will make a stop in Rimouski to face the Oceanic. Some major games for Joel Bouchard’s men that are trailing by 1 point over Rouyn-Noranda (83 points | 60 games) with whom they’re fighting for 1st place in the Western Division. See how these games will impact the general standings, accessible via this link. The shutout win yesterday was the 9th of the season for the Armada, a new QMJHL RECORD!
- Saint John (88 points | 60 games) – The Sea Dogs seem to be on the right track to winning the title of regular season champions for the 4th time in their history, following the 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. Trailing behind them Charlottetown with three points, and only 8 games left to play… Since January 1st, both clubs have been tied: Saint John and Charlottetown have collected 38 points in 24 games, making them the most point getting team in that period. The two matchups you shouldn’t miss: Friday March 10 (CHA @ SNB) and Friday March 17 (SNB @ CHA). Your tickets await at the ticket office!
- Baie-Comeau (52 points | 16th QMJHL) – The team led by Martin Bernard are fighting tooth and nail having collected points in 7 out of the 10 last games (4-3-2-1 | 11 points); they even beat the 2nd best QMJHL team on Wednesday, the Cataractes 4-3. If the playoffs were to happen today, the Drakkar would participate and dislodge Sherbrooke (50 points | 17th). Baie-Comeau has two home games this weekend: Moncton will be visiting them tonight and tomorrow afternoon the Quebec Remparts will be heading out to the Henry-Leonard Centre. While that is happening, Sherbrooke will face Gatineau (tonight) and Shawinigan (Sunday). Both of Drakkar’s goalies, Antoine Samuel (.932 efficiency after having received an average of 35.7 shots per game) and Justin Blanchette (.929 | average of 1.94) have been performing very well since February 8.
DRAKKAR’S GOALIES – SINCE FEBRUARY 8
|* Justin Blanchette||1.94||186||85||6||79||27,4||1||0||1||1||0.929||0|
EXCLUDED FROM THE PLAYOFFS
- Moncton (31 points | 60 games | 18th) – their recent 25 consecutive losses confirmed their elimination. This will be the 6th time in their history that they won’t be making the playoffs, which hadn’t occurred since 2008…
- Acadie-Bathurst – On Saturday, the Titan might equal its team record of 9 consecutive wins, which was originally established in 2001-02, on 2 occasions! As a reminder, during the spring of 2002, the Titan had reached the final, losing to the Victoriaville Tigres. Is this an omen for the 2017 playoffs?
- Blainville-Boisbriand – The Armada equaled last Sunday the QMJHL record of 8 shutouts by a team in one season. And they broke it yesterday, as written above! It is worth noting that they registred 18% of the 49 shutouts during the season. During the 3-0 shutout against Drummondville, Samuel Montembeault also added his name to his team’s record books with a 5th shutout this season (Etienne Marcoux, 4, 2012-13) while registering his 11th in the QMJHL (Etienne Marcoux, 10, 2009-2014). And Montembeault was in front of the net for the historical shutout yesterday, his 6th of the season, 12th lifetime at his 148th He could also pass Ondrej Pavelec (2.52) if he can drop down his lifetime GAA who is actually at 2.56. Add the 7 shutouts record, is it reachable? We will see! He will be the fastest to achieve it (actually 35 games), with Philippe Cadorette having done it in 52 games.
- Francis Leclerc (Blainville-Boisbriand) – Mathieu Bellemare (Gatineau) had grasped a year ago the record for the lowest goals against average in one season for a rookie goalie (2,43). Now Leclerc is shining in his rookie season, with the most impressive 2016-17 league average in his rookie season of 2,29. He also has a lead of 12 hundredth on his nearest rival which places him in a good place for the Jacques-Plante trophy, ahead of Mikhail Denisov (SHA | 2,41). In the Armada, Leclerc may even aim to lower Etienne Marcoux’s team score of 2.14 set during the 2012-13 season.
- Samuel Girard (Shawinigan) – with 61 assists, he is attempting to surpass his personal record of 64. The team record in Shawinigan seems quite far for Girard, but he might still get close to the franchise record holder, Daniel Bock, who totaled 78 assists in 1988-89. If the 18-year-old defenseman maintains his average of 1.17 assists per game for the remainder 8 of the regular season, he’ll have a total of 70.
- Vladimir Kuznetsov (Acadie-Bathurst) – he will attempt on Saturday against Rimouski to score for a 7th straight game. He scored 12 goals in as many games during the month of February equaling 19 points and a +/- of +15. This season, he has an average of 1 point per game (61 pts / 60 gp).
- Nicolas Meloche (Charlottetown) – before yesterday’s game (he didn’t score)… The Islanders veteran defenseman has scored a goal in 3 consecutive games, for a total of 14 in the 2016-17 season (in 2nd position among defensemen trailing TJ Melancon with 18). Ever since he changed uniforms at the end of December, his +/- is +26 in 27 games while contributing offensively with 19 points.
- Zachary Bouthillier (Shawinigan) – The Baie-Comeau Drakkar defeating the Shawinigan Cataractes last Wednesday, put an end to his streak of 13 consecutive wins without a loss during regulation time. He blocked 30 shots which still earned him the 3rd star of the game. As a rookie, he has score sheet is 11-1-2 in 2016-17, with an average of 2,99 and a save percentage of .892.
- Yakov Trenin (Gatineau) – He’s just tallied 11 points in 6 games, with 4 performances of 2 points or more. Known for being a good forwards in both sides of the rink, he has reached the 25 goals plateau on February 25 against Chicoutimi. He excels in the face off circle with a 59% efficiency.
ON THE ROAD
- Félix Lauzon (Victoriaville) – The 2nd round pick of the Tigres in 2014 is a tenacious player who is a constant bother for the opposing team. The 18 year old forward scored 15 of his 19 goals while on the road (78.9% of his producting while away). Giovanni Fiore leads the league with 26 goals on the road (55.3% of his 47 goals on the road). With 49 points in 45 games, Lauzon (1.09) and Alexandre Goulet (1.36 | 83 points, 61 gp) are the only two Tigres players this season to have an average of points per game superior to 1.00. When we spoke to his head-coach, Louis Robitaille he had but great things to say : « Felix is the definition of character and leadership. The higher the stakes the greater his level of game. He’s not afraid to get into it either at home or on the road! »
- Christophe Boivin (Acadie-Bathurst) – he has collected the most points, 45, during road games. That is 9 points more than his home average (36) with 30 games split evenly between home and away. A remarkable season of 81 points for the “David Desharnais” of modern times in the QMJHL measuring 5’08 and weighing 166 pounds… His next goal will be his 100th regular season lifetime goal needing only 3 more games to reach the 250 mark since his debut in 2013-14 with the Titan. His +/- of +34 is among the top 10 best in the QMJHL.
MOST ROAD POINTS IN 2016-17
|3||Giovanni Fiore||Cape Breton||41|
COMFORTABLE AT HOME
- Tyler Boland (Rimouski) – Tyler Boland is the name fans have most certainly heard the most at the Colisée Financière SunLife! No fewer than 60 of his 97 points (61,9%) were collected in front of the home crowd. Even in terms of goals, he leads the league while at home with 28, ahead of Nico Hischier of the Halifax Mooseheads who has 26. Boland registered 28 games with at least 2 points in 2016-17.
MOST HOME POINTS IN 2016-17
BIG FAN SUPPORT IN THE MAURICIE
- Cataractes – In conclusion, will the Cataractes break an attendance record this season? The record was established in 2011-12 with 120 420 fans. With 5 games remaining at the Centre Gervais Auto, crowds must remain at an average of 4000 per game if they want to re-write a page in the history books. A facebook page has been launched by the Cataractes for fans in order to get fans in the rink. Fans that share the page will have a chance to will an official team jersey. While writing this there have already been 500 shares.