The recent success enjoyed by the Val-d’Or Foreurs has allowed their head coach Mario Durocher to close in on the 400-win mark. Find out why Nikolas Brouillard (photo) of the Quebec Remparts will surely be in the mix for the Émile Bouchard Trophy awarded to the league’s top defenceman as he also approaches the 200 career point mark in the major junior ranks.
FIRING ON ALL CYCLINDERS
- Quebec (71 pts | 56 games) – The Remparts, thanks to scoring 42 goals over their last seven games, have won all but one of those contests. Their recent offensive bonanza has seen them score five or more goals in six games. Next on deck for Philippe Boucher’s squad is a huge game against the division-leading Rimouski Oceanic (78 pts | 54 games). The Remparts are also hot at the gate, with Quebec drawing 11,906 fans for a 6-4 win over Baie-Comeau on Tuesday, marking the second biggest crowd of the year at the Pepsi Colisee.
- Blainville-Boisbriand – Their defence allows very few shots, averaging a QMJHL-best 24 per game. In their last four games on home ice, the Armada have been especially stingy in allowing only 19 shots per game. In their last game they went as far as to heling their goalie Montembeault face only 14 shots in a 4-1 win over the Drakkar.
- Rimouski – The Oceanic hasn’t suffered a regulation loss in their last nine games.
- Charlottetown – The Islanders now sit 10th in the overall standings (58 pts, tied with Rouyn and Val-d’Or). Coach Dwyer’s team is still hoping to earn home-ice advantage for the opening round of the playoffs by finishing eighth or higher. This weekend battles with Saint John (65 pts) and Halifax (60 pts) await them – two teams they must leap frog to reach their goal. It’s also entirely possible that two of those three teams face off in the first round.
RACE TO THE PLAYOFFS
- Chicoutimi@Gatineau – Tonight at Guertin Arena, the Olympiques (17th | 47 pts) host the Saguenéens (14th | 54 pts). Chicoutimi has won five of their last 10 while the Sags a win would give them an nine-point cushion over Benoit Groulx’s troops and bring them even closer to clinching their ticket to the playoffs. As for the Olympiques, they are only two points back of the 16th and final playoff spot, as they try to continue their consecutive playoff streak that dates back to 1984…
- Victoriaville@Cape Breton – On Saturday at the 200 Centre, the Tigres (56 pts | 13th) will pay visit to the Eagles (53 pts | 14th). Both teams seem playoff-bound, but a win by either side will definitely bolster their chances.
- Nikolas Brouillard (Quebec) – He’s enjoying quite the month of February to say the least with 10 points in six games. The 19-year-old defenceman scored his 15th goal of the season on Tuesday against Baie-Comeau, as he continues to lead all QMJHL blue-liners in goals, points (53), game-winning goals (4), power-play points (31) and shots (157). He’s averaged over a point per game this season and is looking to extend his current point streak to eight games when the Remparts travel to Rouyn-Noranda on Saturday night. Brouillard is also closing in on the 200-point mark for his career (196 pts | 43rd all-time, tied with Joel Bouchard). Over the past 10 years, only two d-men have managed to reach the milestone (229 pts | Rim/Chi) and Jonathan Paiement (206 pts | She/Lew).
- Nikolas Aube-Kubel (Val-d’Or) – He’s been red-hot this month with 11 points in five games to go with a +4 differential. The Foreurs are winners of three in a row and will host Blainville-Boisbriand on Friday and then Quebec on Sunday afternoon.
- Ivan Barbashev (Moncton) – His points per game average of 1.60 is the fourth highest in the league this season. He has also scored 10 goals in his last eight games as the chemistry between Barbashev and linemate Conor Garland continues to grow. Over the same eight-game stretch, Garland has amassed 15 assists and 20 points – four more points than Barbashev.
- Carl Marois (Victoriaville) – The 19-year-old veteran has been solid of late with nine points in seven games and a +7 differential. His +18 rating leads all Tigres players this season. He has enjoyed four multipoint games this month as he draws closer to the 40-point mark. He’s been an important part of his team recent success that now has the Tigres boasting a seven-point cushion over Gatineau…
TIP OF THE HAT
- Luke Green (Saint John) – The No. 1 pick from the last QMJHL Draft is delivering the goods. Green is second among rookie d-men with 31 points in 49 games right behind Samuel Girard (33, Shawinigan). He is also rewriting the Sea Dogs record book for first-year rearguards: points (31 | vs Sébastien Rioux, 22, 2005-06), assists (26 | vs Thomas Chabot, 21, 2013-14)… It’s worth noting that teammate Jakub Zboril has the team record with eight goals while Green trails him at five goals. Green also has five points in his last four games.
- Tim Wieser (Sherbrooke) – Now at 33 goals on the season, Wieser will soon own the team single season record for goals all to himself. He is currently tied in that department with Jean-Francois (33 | 2013-14).
- François Brassard (Gatineau) – Warning: we’re talking about a goalie, here… With 15 points in his QMJHL career, this 20-year-old veteran is now three points away from the league record of 18 points held by Jose Theodore who is a former member of the Olympiques in his own right. Brassard has four points this season, including a goal he scored while he was still with the Screaming Eagles. Since arriving in his hometown of Gatineau with the Olympiques, his GAA is 2.88 and he’s won five of nine games. Brassard has also become the goalie of choice for head coach Benoit Groulx and now has 92 career victories to place him 21st on the Q’s all-time list.
- Samuel Montembeault (Blainville-Boisbriand) – If, and that’s a big if, his career ended today, Montembeault would tie the league record for career goals against average with his current 2.52 GAA. The holder of that record is former Eagle Ondrej Pavelec who will be watching closely over the coming months.
- Mario Durocher (Val-d’Or) – The Foreurs’ three recent road wins bumped up Durochers’ career QMJHL win total to 399. He is poised to become only the eighth coach in league history to reach No. 400. He has reached such lofty heights over his stints with six different clubs (Victoriaville, Sherbrooke, Lewiston, Acadie-Bathurst, Cape Breton and Val-d’Or.
- Alex Dubeau (Moncton) – The next time he takes to the crease, it will mark his 220th career game, leaving behind only Jacques Cloutier (233) and record-holder Ryan Mior (239). Since February 1, Dubeau has been spectacular with a 6-2 record, 2.56 GAA and .910 save percentage. On Tuesday in an exciting overtime win over Halifax, he notched his 130th win, good enough for third all-time right behind Zachary Fucale (131). All-time leader Jacques Cloutier can rest easy with his 142 victories being safely ahead of both Fucale and Dubeau.
- Nikolaj Ehlers (Halifax) – Bit by bit, he is carving a place for himself in QMJHL lore. By picking up two other points last night against Victoriaville, he extended his point streak to 31 games. By next week he could find himself 20th all-time and among some impressive company, including Jacques Jr Locas (33), Guy Rouleau (34) and Mike Ribeiro (35 | 14th)!
- Danick Martel (Blainville-Boisbriand) – With 193 points over his career with the Armada, he is now only one point away from the club’s all-time record held by Christopher Clapperton (194). Currently the league’s second-leading point-getter with 92 points, but his chances of catching top dog Conor Garland (104) are fading fast.