The moment of truth has arrived in the QMJHL with 19 total games remaining in the 2014-15 season. That being said we’re not any closer to determining whether Rimouski or Moncton will end up as the top dog, while 15 of 18 spots are still up for grabs. On the individual player front, which goalie will end up with the league’s top goals against average: Desrosiers or Montembeault?
RACE FOR THE JEAN ROUGEAU TROPHY
- 1 spot in the QMJHL – Which team will finish first overall and earn the coveted right to home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs? Well it’s all come down to Rimouski and Moncton.
- Rimouski (1st | 95 points) – The Oceanic will host the Quebec Remparts in a home-and-home series: Friday night at 7:00 pm in Quebec City and then the next day at 4:00 pm in Rimouski. The two clubs have already faced off six times this season with each team winning three games. In Rimouski the goal is for the team to earn its third regular season crown after doing so in 1999-2000 and 2004-05.
- Moncton (2nd | 93 points) – The Wildcats could earn their second such crown in their history after having done so in 2005-06. Rimouski much lose at least one game in order for the Wildcats to even have a shot. Moncton has finished up strong, winning their last seven games. Two of their final three games will be played in the friendly confines of the Moncton Coliseum tonight and tomorrow. Darren Rumble’s charges will have to head home on Sunday to play a game that had been postponed due to a snow storm.
FINAL STANDINGS – A study in parity
- Blainville-Boisbriand – à trois jours de la fin de la saison, l’Armada est la seule formation qui est installée actuellement à sa position finale (3e rang | 89 points), mis à part les équipes éliminées que sont Drummondville (17e) et Acadie-Bathurst (18e). Tout de même incroyable que 15 des 18 clubs ne connaissent toujours pas leur position finale, et que de ce fait, aucun des affrontements du 1er tour éliminatoire ne soit encore connu.
- Gatineau – les Olympiques, actuellement au 14e rang avec 64 points, pourraient terminer la campagne à 6 positions distinctes, quelque part de la 11e à la 16e place; c’est de l’inimaginable considérant qu’il ne reste que 2 matchs à jouer!
- Trois cas d’égalités – on constate trois luttes où on se retrouve nez-à-nez. Regardons les positions 6 à 8, nous retrouvons 3 équipes qui se chevauchent avec 76 points : Val-d’Or, Baie-Comeau et Sherbrooke. Aux 9e et 10e échelons se retrouvent avec 71 points les organisations de Charlottetown et Saint John. Suivent aux 11e et 12e paliers Rouyn-Noranda et Halifax avec 68 points chacun.
- Critères de bris d’égalité – pour départager le classement, si des équipes terminaient avec le même nombre de points, on regarderait en premier lieu le total de victoires (excluant celles acquises en fusillade). Si ça ne suffisait pas, le différentiel obtenu entre les « Buts Pour » et les « Buts Contre » trancherait le tout.
- Blainville-Boisbriand – Three days from the end of the regular season, the Armada is the only team sitting in the position (3rd | 89 points) they will end up sitting in regardless, that is aside from Drummondville (17th) and Acadie-Bathurst (18th). It’s pretty amazing that the other 15 teams still don’t know where they will end up, meaning that no playoff matchups are even close to being known.
- Gatineau – Now sitting 14th with 64 points, the Olympiques could finish in one of six positions, anywhere from 11th to 16th even though they only have two games left!
- Three deadlocks – Three races are now neck and neck. From spots 6-8, Val-d’Or, Baie-Comeau and Sherbrooke are all tied at 76 points. At 9 and 10, Charlottetown and Saint John are stuck at 71 points. And right behind them at 68 points are Rouyn-Noranda and Halifax at No. 11 and No. 12 respectively.
- Tie-breaker format – To help solve all these potential puzzles, should teams end up tied in points, the first tie-breaker is number of wins minus those picked up via shootout. The next criterion would then be goal differential.
|POSSIBLE FINAL RANK||GP||W||SOW||ROW||L||OTL||SOL||PTS||GF||GA||diff GF-GA|
|1 … 2||1||Rimouski||66||45||3||42||16||3||2||95||270||191||79|
|1 … 2||2||Moncton||65||45||7||38||17||0||3||93||276||220||56|
|4 … 5||4||Québec||66||40||4||36||23||1||2||83||260||223||37|
|4 … 5 … 6 … 7||5||Shawinigan||66||38||1||37||25||1||2||79||254||207||47|
|5 … 6 … 7 … 8||6||Val-d’Or||66||34||4||30||24||3||5||76||276||258||18|
|5 … 6 … 7 … 8||7||Baie-Comeau||66||34||5||29||24||5||3||76||223||232||-9|
|5 … 6 … 7 … 8||8||Sherbrooke||66||35||7||28||25||2||4||76||219||235||-16|
|9 … 10 … 11 … 12||9||Charlottetown||66||33||2||31||28||1||4||71||213||232||-19|
|9 … 10 … 11 … 12||10||Saint John||66||31||3||28||26||3||6||71||228||234||-6|
|9 … 10 … 11 … 12||11||Rouyn-Noranda||66||32||4||28||30||3||1||68||237||239||-2|
|9 … 10 … 11 … 12||12||Halifax||65||31||3||28||28||4||2||68||221||233||-12|
|11 … 12 … 13 …14 … 15||13||Cape Breton||66||30||2||28||30||3||3||66||251||239||12|
|11 … 12 … 13 … 14 … 15 …. 16||14||Gatineau||66||29||2||27||31||0||6||64||225||240||-15|
|13 … 14 … 15 … 16||15||Chicoutimi||66||28||3||25||31||4||3||63||198||234||-36|
|14 … 15 … 16||16||Victoriaville||66||27||2||25||33||2||4||60||240||263||-23|
JOCKEYING FOR THE JACQUES PLANTE TROPHY
- Philippe Desrosiers (Rimouski) – By dipping his goals against average to 2.45 he all but locked up the Jacques Plante Trophy with his fifth shutout of the season against Shawinigan on Wednesday night. No Oceanic goalie has ever earned the honour. Since January 1, Desrosiers (2.24 | .912 | 12-2-0-1) and his creasemate Louis-Philippe Guindon (2.23 | .919 | 9-3-1-0) boast the two top GAA’s in the league.
- Samuel Montembault (Blainville-Boisbriand | 2.61) – The gap is widening as he tries to catch Desrosiers who will have to have a complete collapse in order for Montembeault to have any shot. Even if he manages to post a pair of shutouts to close out the season, his GAA would only drop to 2.51.
- Last season – You will recall that last season Zachary Fucale while still with the Moosehads led the way with a 2.26 GAA.
- Conor Garland (Moncton): He will is poised to become the first Wildcats player to ever win the Jean Beliveau Trophy as the league’s scoring champion. With 125 points now under his belt, he also leads the entire CHL to boot, sitting ahead of Mitchell Marner (London | OHL | 124 points) and WHL leader Oliver Bjorkstrand (Portland | 112 points).
- Jeremy Lauzon (Rouyn-Noranda) – The young 17-year-old defenceman has 15 goals on the season. He’s also the owner of a +12 rating.
- Dmytro Timashov (Quebec) – He is only one point shy of 90 and the No. 60 spot on the top rookie season list in the QMJHL. His 70 assists have also obliterated the previous Remparts record for assists by a rookie in a single season, a mark previously held by Angelo Esposito who notched 59 helpers as a freshman in 2005-06. Timashov is highly regarded heading into this summer’s NHL Draft according to NHL Central Scouting.
- François Brassard (Gatineau) – The Olympiques’ netminder only needs two more wins to reach No. 100 in his Q career, but his team only has that many games left: first in Drummondville then Shawinigan. Only head coach Benoit Groulx knows if Brassard will dress for both games. Since joining the Olympiques in January, his numbers have been impressive (2.69 | .903 | 11-4-0-2).
- Marc-Edouard Vlasic (#44) – The Quebec Remparts will be retiring the No. 44 in a special ceremony on March 20 when they host the Oceanic. Vlasic will become only the fourth player and first defenceman in Remparts history to earn that honour, joining the likes of Guy Lafleur, Simon Gagné and Alexander Radulov. Vlasic had played a pivotal role in Quebec’s Memorial Cup triumph in 2006. Then at only 19 the following season he would begin his NHL career with the Sharks. It’s an honour well-deserved.