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Shawinigan-Victoriaville : The Laviolette Bridge Duel

 

The definition of a rivalry is when two opponents battle it out for the same objective. On Rivalry Weekend, the Shawinigan Cataractes and Victoriaville Tigres will look to determine which team on opposite sides of Laviolette Bridge is stronger.

Separated by a mere 83 km, the two teams both boast a winning history and even during the toughest times their showdowns are always hotly contested games. The passion and hunger of both fan bases have long-been the fuel of this rivalry that floods through their veins for each of their clubs that have yellow as their primary colour.

No team has faced the Tigres more often than the Cataractes. In the 227 all-time head-to-head matchups, the Cataractes hold a 112-100 edge. While the win-loss record is rather tight, it’s a much different story in the goals scored department where the Cataractes own a whopping 956-756 advantage. You can bet there were some lopsided games along the way…

Over my 36 years on earth, I had the chance to watch the ascent of both of these teams and I will always remember the 1994-95 season when Patrick Carignan piled up 137 points for the Cataractes. That year, the chemistry between he and Alain Savage Jr. was unreal and I’m sure that Tigres fans remember them well as they amassed a combined 93 points in 27 games against Victoriaville. Stephane Robidas was solid as well against the Tigres with 30 points in 25 games. As for the Tigres, a season that stands out is 2000-01 which starred Marc-Andre and Sebastien Thinel, Antoine Vermette, Danny Groulx, Carl Malette and Matthew Lombardi. What I recall most is who that was the first time I ever a team so dangerous on offence.

After having dominated the QMJHL in recent years, the Cataractes now find themselves in a rebuilding stage, but knowing Martin Mondou, Shawinigan could very well rebuild in a hurry. After losing the likes of Anthony Beauvillier prematurely last year, it appears to be Samuel Girard’s turn to make the jump into the NHL as he made the Nashville Predators’ roster to open the season.

As for the Tigres, Louis Robitaille’s squad is off to a blazing start to the season and is considered by many to a leading contender for the QMJHL crown this year. With the likes of Comtois, Laberge, Phelan, Harwell, Boivin, Kosorenkov, Lanoue and Sevigny leading the charge, Victoriaville may give their opponents fits this season.

Will the Cataractes be able to count on a more intimidating home ice advantage? Time will tell once rivalry weekend kicks in on October 13 and 14.

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