Weekend Q Roundup
Last week's featured series between the Drummondville Voltigeurs and Saint John Sea Dogs ended with each team claiming a win, beginning with a nightmarish game for the Voltigeurs that had two of their players injured by pucks to the face, captain Marc-Olivier Vachon being sent to the locker room early for having hit an opponent from behind eight minutes in, and an eventual 7-4 loss. Sea Dogs' forward and Capitals' prospect Stanislav Galiev had four goals over the miniseries as Volts' Guillaume Nadeau was chased from his net for the third time in his last four starts. Sixteen year old goaltender Domenic Graham took over for the rest of the weekend, earning a 3-2 overtime win to earn a split against the Sea Dogs, then backstopping a 6-4 win at the expense of the Moncton Wildcats on Sunday afternoon. Listed in CSR's mid-term rankings as the second-best North American prospect going into the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and named TELUS first star of the week, Sean Couturier collected two goals and four assists over the three games he was featured in this weekend, also finishing +6. He will wear the 'C' for Team Cherry on January 19th for the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, set to take place in Toronto.
Lewiston and Victoriaville split a two-game series of their own, one game also needing extra time. Matthew Bissonnette scored the game-winner in a 4-3 shootout win on Sunday, avenging the 7-5 score from the night before that saw Étienne Brodeur register a hat trick in a losing cause, his second straight (he would finish as TELUS' second star of the week, as he totaled 6 goals and 1 assist over his last three games). New Tigres captain Phillip Danault and his assistants Yannick Dubé and Guillaume Goulet combined for six points in that Victoriaville win. Meanwhile, the Montreal Juniors returned home from a 3-2 win over the Val d'Or Foreurs to face the Halifax Mooseheads, where Louis Leblanc had one goal and three assists and was honoured with the first star of the game in a 5-2 win. For their part, the Cataractes rebounded from a 4-1 loss to Rimouski as Ryan Kavanagh, Michael Bournival and Peter Sakaris scored in regulation before Dave Labrecque put home the shootout winner as Shawinigan topped Gatineau 4-3. Philip-Michaël Devos, Tye McGinn and Mathieu Gagnon scored in the loss. Despite the extra point and the 5-2 win the Olympiques pulled out on Saturday, they still surrendered their 2nd-place ranking in the Telus West standings to the Voltigeurs.
The Baie-Comeau Drakkar are refusing to be down and out for the count. Having climbed back into the playoff push as of late, sitting six points behind of Cape Breton, they jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the Quebec Remparts on Friday, only to fall victim to a comeback and lose the game 7-4. However, an inspired performance against Rimouski the following day led to a 5-2 victory in that matchup. Formerly of the Canadiens' organization, Jason Missiaen pushed back 28 of the 30 shots he faced in the win.
The third player honoured this week along with Couturier and Brodeur was PEI's Evan Mosher, who only surrendered five goals on 124 shots in two starts for the Rocket for a goals against average of 2.32 and a save percentage of .960.
Key matchups this week: Friday's lineup presents a lot of mismatches in the standings, as the closest gap between teams features eighth-place Shawinigan playing Chicoutimi in the thirteenth spot. However, to end the weekend, the Saint John Sea Dogs roll into the Colisée Pepsi to take on the Remparts, with the two powerhouses ranked one and two in the league respectively. Similarly, division rivals Gatineau Olympiques are the Montreal Juniors' visitors at the Verdun Auditorium as they battle for ground in the Telus West. Both games are set to take place around the 3 p.m. hour Sunday afternoon.