As the “second season” in the QMJHL rapidly approaches, storylines from throughout the league remain in abundance
Epic Clash in Moncton
On Wednesday night, before a sold-out crowd, the hometown Moncton Wildcats faced off against the Rimouski Oceanic in a clash of two clubs that had combined for 21 consecutive triumphs leading into the contest. The Wildcats would come from behind to capture their 10th straight victory thanks to an overtime marker from Jakob Pelletier. The 3-2 Wildcats win would snap the Oceanic’s impressive 12-game win streak.
Record Breaking in the Port City
With a three-assist performance against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan on Monday afternoon, Saint John defenceman William Villeneuve surpassed the franchise record for points in a season by a blueliner. Making the accomplishment even more noteworthy, besides the fact that Villeneuve turned the trick in just his second “Q” campaign, was a congratulatory tweet from the previous record holder, Nathan Beaulieu, who is currently suiting up with the Winnipeg Jets.
End of the Line for Bechard
Daniel Bechard became the first linesman in league history to eclipse the 1000-game plateau last Sunday in Shawinigan. Following the contest, Bechard formally retired from active duty after a quarter century of dedicated service in the QMJHL.
Voyer Gets Youth in the Game
While the Sherbrooke Phoenix continues to roll through its most successful season in franchise history, hometown hero Alex-Olivier Voyer has dedicated part of his time to getting youngsters involved in sports. The star winger has initiated a public campaign encouraging people to drop off all forms of new or gently used sports equipment at the Palais des Sports Leopold-Drolet for distribution throughout the region as part of a David Perron Foundation initiative.
Drakkar Retain Coaches
As the Baie-Comeau Drakkar has already begun its next attempt to rise through the QMJHL standings, the team wanted to ensure that its current coaching staff came along for the ride. Last week, the club announced extensions through the 2021-22 season for Assistant Coach Jean-Francois Gregoire and Goaltending Coach (and Drakkar alumnus) Antoine Samuel.
Pioneering Coach Passes
The QMJHL and Shawinigan Cataractes were saddened last Friday to learn of the passing of Claude Dolbec at the age of 91. Mr. Dolbec was the first Head Coach in the history of the Shawinigan franchise, then known as the Bruins. He also spent a year and a half as Head Coach of the Trois-Rivieres Draveurs during the mid-70’s. Dolbec’s time behind the bench in the “Q” culminated in 1971, when the Bruins earned a berth in the President Cup Final.
Harvey-Pinard, Bibeau Ring up old Teammates
Last Saturday night in Rouyn-Noranda was an emotional time for Huskies fans as well as a pair of former club members. This marked the first game back for overage Chicoutimi forwards Rafael Harvey-Pinard and Felix Bibeau since helping lead the Huskies to a Memorial Cup triumph last May. Both were presented with their championship rings before partaking in a pre-game ceremonial faceoff.
Dean a Quick Study
The Gatineau Olympiques had high expectations for Zachary Dean when they selected him fourth overall in the 2019 QMJHL Draft. Not even through his first full season in the league, he’s already started to deliver. His three-goal performance against the Charlottetown Islanders last Friday made him the first 16-year-old player in Olympiques franchise history to record multiple hat tricks in a season.
It was one of three hat tricks fired home in the “Q” last week, with others coming off the sticks of Alex-Olivier Voyer (Sherbrooke) and Maxim Cajkovic (Saint John).
Shank Shuts the Door
With a 5-0 victory over the Foreurs in Val-d’Or last Friday, Sagueneens netminder Alexis Shank became the first goaltender in the CHL to notch 30 victories on the season. The 24-save shutout was not only Shank’s second of the campaign, but also represented the lone whitewash posted by a QMJHL keeper last week.