Offensive juggernaut for the Drakkar, Maxime St-Cyr (PHOTO) has been giving goalies fits this season with his flair around the net, scoring 15 goals in his last 14 games! With now only 43 days left in the regular season, what are the realistic chances the Gatineau Olympics and Acadie-Bathurst Titan will both make the playoffs? That being said, it’s looking like it might take a haul of at 65 points to make the postseason this year in the QMJHL. And that isn’t the only stat trending upwards this season, as goals scored are also on the rise in 2014-15.
GOALS, GOALS and more GOALS!
- Val-d’Or – The high-flying Foreurs became the first team in the league to reach the 200 goal mark this season. They appear poised to match their feat of a season ago when they earned the Luc Robitaille Trophy as the highest scoring team in the QMJHL.
- Moncton – The Wildcats were the next team to hit the mark, notching No. 200 in a big 8-3 win over the Halifax Mooseheads on Tuesday.
- QMJHL – So far this season and as of Wednesday, there had been an average of 7.02 goals scored per game in 2014-15, representing a spike of 5.2% over a season ago.
- QMJHL – At the rate teams are lighting the lamp these days, 17 of 18 QMJHL teams will score at least 200 goals this season. That hasn’t happened since back in 2006-07 when every team actually managed the feat. This season, the only team currently not on pace to reach 200 is the Titan.
- We invite you to read our “History Lesson” section where you will learn all about just how many goals the mighty Sorel Éperviers scored 41 years ago.
- Plays of the week – Quick reminder: each week we post the top goals of the week on the official website of the QMJHL.
- Maxime St-Cyr (Baie-Comeau) – With already 44 goals on the season, St-Cyr continues to lead the league. He actually accounted for almost one quarter of the Drakkar’s goals this year. He also leads the QMJHL with 22 power play goals. St-Cyr is also lethal in shootouts, boasting an impressive 57.1% success rate scoring on four of seven attempts in helping the Drakkar secure five wins via shootout this season.
- Mason McDonald (Charlottetown) – The Islanders’ netminder is playing like a veteran these days. In January, the 6-foot-4 goalie was spectacular, posting a .922 save percentage and 2.30 goals against average en route to winning five of nine games despite facing an average of 30 shots per game. This season, he ranks fifth in the league in save percentage (.908) and fifth in GAA (2.89). McDonald was of course a second round pick of the Calgary Flames at the 2014 NHL Draft; 39 saves yesterday night in a 4-1 win over Shawinigan…
PLAYOFF SPOTS DON’T COME EASY
- The No. 16 spot – The coveted final playoff spot in the QMJHL. If the postseason began today, both Gatineau (42 pts | 17th) and Acadie-Bathurst (34 pts | 18th) would be on the outside looking in. But the season is far from over…
- Since the Q began to qualify 16-of-18 teams for the playoffs in 2005-06, the minimum number of points needed has varied from 41-to-62. The team with the most points to have missed the playoffs over that span was Moncton with 57 points in 2007-08 as they missed out by five points.
- So that begs the question: how many points will it take to qualify this season when the schedule wraps up on March 21. As of the standings this past Monday and taking into consideration teams’ current point percentages and their number of remaining games, we determined that it should take 65 points to crack the top-16 this season, which would be a new record in the QMJHL in the “18-team” era.
- Gatineau – With that number of points in mind, the Olympiques would have to maintain a points percentage of .676 the rest of the way or in other words 23 points over their remaining 17 games.
- Acadie-Bathurst – The Titan are playing with fire. The tall order their facing has gotten tougher since they need to pick up 31 points over their last 15 games. Impossible, right? But you never know in this game especially if the teams ahead of them start to stumble.
- Among the teams holding the 12-to-16 spots, here is how we determined they might finish point-wise this season: Chicoutimi and Val-d’Or (68 pts each), Drummondville (67 pts) and Cape Breton (65 pts). This playoff picture could also change in a hurry should one of these teams struggle or catch fire.
TIP OF THE CAP
- Danick Martel (Blainville-Boisbriand) – This speedster has the skills to change a game at any moment. He racked up 25 points in January alone as did his teammate Nikita Jevpalovs. It goes without saying that the Armada’s dynamic duo is playing a huge role as Joel Bouchard’s squad continues to flirt with the top spot in the Q’s overall standings.
- The importance of Martel’s role – Since the start of the season, his having been involved in 44.3% of his team offence (82 pts out of 185 goals) ranks him first in that department league-wide heading. Not to be outdone, his 229 shots are second behind only the Cataractes’ Anthony Beauvillier (256).
- 38 goals- Martel is currently second in league scoring tied with his linemate Nikita Jevpalovs.
- Plus/Minus – His +31 differential is good enough for fourth in the QMJHL which is even more impressive when you consider that over half his points have come on the power-play this season (42 of 82 pts). For those of you unaware, points with the extra man don’t count as a plus in a player’s differential.
- The Drummondville native now in his final season of junior eligibility due to his being age 20 is still looking for his first pro contract. Let’s not forget how this junior success story was never drafted by a QMJHL team, but rather only invited to camp by the Armada in 2011. Not too shabby for a player now battling it out for the league points title.
- Congratulations are certainly in order for Martel and his 182 points in 183 career games for the Armada. He may also soon be the franchise’s all-time leader in that department soon enough as he continues to close in on Christopher Clapperton | 194 pts).
- Nikolaj Ehlers (Halifax) – Heading into Thursday night’s action, Ehlers was still riding his 26-game point streak during which he has piled up 61 points for an amazing average of 2.3 points per game!
HAVE YOUR SAY!
- Over the past week on the QMJHL’s official website, you had the chance to weigh in on: “Which team with already 55 points in the bank has the best shot at finishing first overall this season?”
- Rimouski – The Oceanic seem to have the momentum to take home the Jean-Rougeau Trophy since 39.2% of 3,117 voters gave Rimouski the nod. Rimouski won yesterday night against Moncton (3-2).
- Moncton – The vision of the Wildcats as regular season is one that was seen by 20.8% of voters while the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada got 14.2% of votes.
HISTORY LESSON – The line of Larouche/Cossette/Dieziel
- Offensive era – In the early 70s, the QMJHL was known for its explosive offensive stars. Guy Lafleur did after all post two consecutive 100-goal seasons for the Quebec Remparts. In his final season in the Q, he racked up an incredible 209 points in only 62 games in 1970-71.
- 1973-74 season – We eluded earlier about the impressive feat that almost all QMJHL teams will crack the 200-goal mark this season. Hang on to your hats because back in 1973-74 the Sorel Eperviers put up an eye-popping 620 goals in 70 games for an average of almost nine goals per game.
- Pierre Larouche – The Eperviers’ centre won the scoring that year with a record-breaking 251 points, a mark that would stand until 10 years later when Mario Lemieux amassed 282 points in 1983-84, setting the record that still stands today.
- Jacques Cossette and Michel Deziel – Larouche’s linemates were dominant in their own right in 1973-74, as they also topped the 200-point mark that year, a league record for three teammates to this day. Also a record all these later are the 92 goals scored by Deziel, still the high water mark for left wingers in a single QMJHL season.