QMJHL: Summary of March 30 matches in the Courteau circuit

Stéphane Leroux: The Remparts at the top of the QMJHL’s State of Forces

As in recent years, at the start of each month, RDS.ca provides you with the strengths of the 18 QMJHL teams.

Here is our fifth ranking of the season based on the performance of the teams and especially on the depth of the alignments. In brackets the ranking of the team at the beginning of March.

1- QUEBEC (4)

The Quebec Remparts return to 1er rank in our monthly rankings (they held that position in November). Patrick Roy’s troops have just won their last eight games after a bitter 9-2 loss in Rimouski on March 11. The Remparts are the only QMJHL team with more than 40 wins this season. Forward Zachary Bolduc is working at full speed, as evidenced by his tally of 19 goals in his last 15 games. Additionally, former Tigers captain Conor Frenette is set to return from the injured list.

2- CHARLOTTETOWN (1)

The Charlottetown Islanders had a few games in hand at the top of the overall standings but they’ve “fumbled” seven games in the last 14, so that lead is gone. The absence of Xavier Simoneau is felt because the ugly sequence coincides with his absence, he who has not played since March 8.

3- SHERBROOKE (5)

The Sherbrooke Phoenix’s top line of Julien Anctil, Xavier Parent and Joshua Roy is dominant for the Phoenix, which went 11-2-1 in March. Roy and Parent meet respectively at 1er and 3and rows of the circuit pointers column. The Phoenix, which is almost assured of 1er rank of the Western association, however, will have to manage without defender Kaylen Gauthier, acquired from the Voltigeurs during the holiday period. Number 21 broke his arm in Chicoutimi last week.

4- ACADIE-BATHURST (3)

The Acadie-Bathurst Titan continues its ascent to the top of the pyramid. Jason Clarke’s men have suffered just three regular-time losses in 26 games since resuming play. Bennett MacArthur has 39 goals to his name and Riley Kidney, the Canadiens’ prospect, is down to 84 points. Detroit Red Wings prospect Jan Bednar has a .932 save percentage in his last 12 games.

5- SAINT JOHN (6)

The Saint John Sea Dogs posted 11 wins in 13 games during the month of March. William Dufour, 48 goals, is on the verge of becoming the first scorer of 50 goals in the QMJHL since Alex Barré-Boulet in 2017-2018. The Memorial Cup host team leads the QMJHL with 15 shorthanded goals. Gordie Dwyer’s squad will play 6 of their next 8 games against the top-7 teams in the circuit.

6- SHAWINIGAN (2)

The Shawinigan Cataractes miss their captain Mavrik Bourque, who is about to return to the game.er 2020 Dallas Stars pick has played just 21 games this season and the Cats’ record is 19-1-1 when he’s in the lineup, showing his impact. On the other hand, the training record of the Mauricie without Bourque is 15-18-3. The Cats have only two wins in 10 games and they have almost no chance of joining Sherbrooke at 1er rank of the association.

7- GATINEAU (7)

The Gatineau Olympiques are very much missing their number one goaltender Rémi Poirier. Since his injury on March 3, the Olympiques record is 4-4-5. So only 4 wins in 13 games without Poirier. The story of the season for the Olympiques is undoubtedly this victory for Ève Gascon on Friday night against Drummondville. The 18-year-old became the 2and in history to win a match on the Courteau circuit. The Gatineau residents are playing 7 of their next 8 games on the road and by passing the Olympiques are now assured of a place in the playoffs for the 37and consecutive year.

8- RIMOUSKI (9)

The Rimouski Oceanic had a great month of March with a 9-3-2 record. Serge Beausoleil’s troop is tough, having notably won against Gatineau twice, Quebec and Shawinigan. The Océanic plays well defensively despite the transactions completed during the holiday season involving veterans on the blue line. Rimouski is 3and in the QMJHL for goals against average (2.66) and 2and behind Quebec in the fewest shots allowed per game (25.4).

9- HALIFAX (8)

The Mooseheads are capable of the best and the worst. They have just beaten the Charlottetown Islanders four times in a row, but they also drop games by scores of 10-2, 11-2, 8-1 and 7-2. It lacks a bit of regularity, which is the prerogative of younger teams. Jordan Dumais, only 17, continues his dream season with 74 points in 57 games. He wasn’t invited to the CHL Top Prospects Game, but scouts are watching him and monitoring his progress.

10- DRUMMONDVILLE (11)

The Drummondville Voltigeurs continue to fight for home ice advantage in 1D series round. Steve Hartley’s troops currently have a four-point lead over the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and there are three games left between the two teams between now and the 1er may. Young rookie Tyler Peddle shook off his lethargy last Friday night by scoring his 1er goal in 20 games. The management of the Voltigeurs has announced the retirement of Sean Couturier’s jersey on April 15.

11- MONCTON (10)

The Moncton Wildcats had a tough March with just four wins in 14 games. It must be said that the “wildcats” played seven games against the three big teams from the Maritimes, suffering six losses. The Wildcats should finish in 7and Eastern association rank, which will mean a clash of 1D difficult round, probably against Quebec or Charlottetown.

12- VAL-D’OR (12)

The Val-d’Or Foreurs took advantage of March to virtually secure a spot in the playoffs with nine wins in 15 games. The 2021 President Cup finalists are nine points clear of Victoriaville, who are currently 17and rank. The Foreurs are struggling with a significant list of injured goaltenders, so much so that the 2021-2022 edition saw five different goalkeepers record at least one victory.

13- BLAINVILLE-BOISBRIAND (13)

The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada tries to catch up with the Drummondville Voltigeurs at 4and western conference rank to get home ice advantage in 1D series round. Alexis Gendron, eligible for this summer’s draft, is playing big hockey these days, scoring eight in his last nine games.

14- CHICOUTIMI (15)

The Chicoutimi Saguenéens haven’t missed the playoffs since the spring of 2000. Yanick Jean’s team is involved in a fight to the finish with the Huskies, the Drakkar and the Tigres. Three of these formations will qualify for the spring tournament and one will go on vacation prematurely. One thing is certain, the Sags have their fate in their hands because 8 of their last 12 games have been against Baie-Comeau, Victoriaville and Rouyn-Noranda.

15-BAIE-COMEAU (16)

The Baie-Comeau Drakkar played for .500 in March with 7 wins against 7 failures. The Drakkar are in the same boat (no pun intended!) as the Sags with 6 of the last 13 matchups against direct rivals. With the Drakkar, goalkeeper Olivier Adam is having a good time with 7 wins in his last 11 starts and an efficiency of .922, he gives his team a chance to win.

16-VICTORIAVILLE (17)

The defending President Cup champions are trying to avoid their first elimination from the playoffs since 2004. The Tigres have won three in their last five games, including a big 2-0 victory in Rouyn-Noranda on Saturday. Goaltender Nathan Darveau was named MVP of the past week with a 1.34 goals-against average in three games.

17-ROUYN-NORANDA (14)

The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies are part of the quartet that is involved in the merciless fight for a playoff qualification. The Huskies’ problem right now is the lack of offense. Brad Yetman’s squad have scored just seven goals in their last six games. Goalkeeper Samuel Richard is solid, but he needs better attacking support.

18- CAPE BRETON (18)

The Cape Breton Eagles will finish last in the overall standings. They are 12 points behind on 18and rank. Cape Breton will play nine of its last 14 games at home and it will be an opportunity for the youngsters of the team to acquire a little more experience before the holidays. Defender Jérémy Langlois still has 14 games ahead of him to earn points in the eyes of recruiters. The man who missed the NHL Draft by four days last year has 44 points in 51 games this season.

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