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Our 18 | Quietly competitive last year, Sagueneens ready to make some noise

 

Last season, the Chicoutimi Sagueneens were largely overshadowed by a number of other teams in the QMJHL. Quietly, they strung together 39 wins and 85 points for their best regular season performance in 13 years.

This year, they won’t be sneaking up on anybody. Nor will that necessarily matter.

Head Coach and General Manager Yanick Jean returns a formidable lineup that includes four of his top five scorers from last season in centers Hendrix Lapierre, Theo Rochette and Samuel Houde as well as winger Justin Ducharme. Adding to an already solid offensive stable are a pair of impact wingers acquired in separate draft day trades. Making his way from the Baie-Comeau Drakkar is overager Ethan Crossman while Rafael Harvey-Pinard, from nearby Jonquiere, will wear the “C” for the Sags after holding the same position for the Memorial Cup Champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies last year, a campaign that saw him post 40 goals and 85 points in the regular season along with 27 points in 20 postseason encounters.

Defensively, the Sagueneens finished in the top third of the league in fewest goals against. Though they lose reliable veteran Morgan Nauss to graduation, they look forward to what should be a strong season from Russian rearguard Artemi Kniazev, a draftee of the San Jose Sharks last June. He’ll be supported in part by Felix-Antoine Drolet, picked up from the Acadie-Bathurst Titan early in training camp. Latvian Harijs Brants, a first-round selection in the 2019 CHL Import Draft, will take to the ice at Centre Georges-Vezina after helping earn his home nation an IIHF Division I World Junior Championship last December. In net, Alexis Shank returns after a very successful 2018-19 campaign that saw him win 27 games and finish in the top five in save percentage and shutouts.

With what could be an ultra-competitive race to the top forthcoming in the Eastern Division, the Sagueneens have put their opponents on notice that this year could be a bit louder in Chicoutimi. And more successful, as well.

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2018-2019 Saguenéens Stats:

Team Record 39-22-3-4 — 85 points
Division Ranking 3rd East
Conference Ranking 6th Eastern
League Ranking 8th
Home Record 21-8-2-3
Away Record 18-14-1-1
GF 218
GA 205
PP (Overall) (57/263) 21.7%
PK (Overall) (54/275) 80.4%
Leading Rookie (PTS) Lapierre (13-32-45)
Leading Scorers (PTS) Kotkov (34-27-61)
  Lapierre (13-32-45)
  Ducharme (30-14-44)
  Houde (16-27-43)
  Rochette (14-29-43)
2019 Playoffs *Lost in 1st round (0-4 vs. RIM)

 

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