QMJHL Report: First Round of the 2019 Playoffs

by Nate Duffett on April 5, 2019

 

Western Conference
 

#1 Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (4) def. #8 Shawinigan Cataractes (2)

 

After a successful season which saw the Huskies finish 12 points ahead of the second-place team in the league, a first-round series win was inevitable. However, it didn’t come easy as Shawinigan found themselves tied at 2-2 in the series going into game five. An upset was not in the cards as the Huskies took control of the series, winning games five and six by a combined score of 15-5 to advance. As expected, Peter Abbandonato with thirteen points, Noah Dobson (NYI) with ten points, and Joel Teasdale (MTL) with nine points led the offensive charge for the Huskies. The second-best offence in the QMJHL regular season did not miss a beat with their goal totals in the first round, however, they will need to get back to their shutdown defense to avoid any more scares in the coming series’.

 

#2 Drummondville Voltigeurs (4) def. #7 Gatineau Olympiques (1)

 

The Voltigeurs used a game-one hat trick from Joe Veleno (DET) to kick-start a successful opening round series. Veleno would go on to register nine points and lead his team to the next round. The other regular season stars for the Voltigeurs had trouble generating a point pace that was similar to the regular season. Both Maxime Comtois (ANA) and Gregor Macleod were only able to manage five points in five games. Drummondville will need these other players to step up if they want to make a deep run.

 

#3 Sherbrooke Phoenix (4) def. #6 Blainville-Boisbriand, Armada (1)

 

The Armada came on the road in game one and took a series lead on the Phoenix, but that was the only taste of victory they would get as Sherbrooke would take the next four games. Top 2019 NHL Draft prospect Samuel Poulin was the leader for Sherbrooke in the series with nine points. Dakota Lund-Cornish was also stellar between the pipes with a 2.02 goals-against-average and .925 save percentage. Despite a convincing win in the series, Sherbrooke will be in tough against Drummondville in round two with their lack of scoring depth. Lund-Cornish will need to play as good or better to give the Phoenix a chance.

 

#4 Victoriaville Tigres (4) def. #5 Val D’Or Foreurs (3)

 

It was a battle of undrafted veterans in this seven-game series between Victoriaville and Val D’Or.  Simon Lafrance, Dominic Cormier, and Anthony Poulin led the way offensively en route to the game seven overtime victory for the Tigres. Julien Tessier, David Noël (STL), and Félix Boivin countered in a losing effort for the Foreurs. In a series that may not have had the same star power or appeal as others, this back and forth battle could go down as the best series of the first round.

 

Eastern Conference

#1 Halifax Mooseheads (4) def. #8 Québec Remparts (3)

 

Their Memorial Cup hosting campaign looked to be coming to an abrupt end after dropping the first two games at home to the Remparts. However, the Mooseheads fought back to win two of three in the Quebec Capital and win the final two games at home to take the series in seven. Raphaël Lavoie started his important postseason run in his draft year by running away with the scoring lead in the series with 13 points. The next closest from the Mooseheads being Arnaud Durandeau (NYI) and Maxim Trépanier with seven each. Going to go out on a limb and say the Mooseheads might want to chip in and help their 18-year-old to ensure they don’t have an extended break before they host the tournament in May.

 

#7 Moncton Wildcats (4) def. #2 Baie Comeau Drakkar (2)

 

The big upset of the first round was the Wildcats dumping the Drakkar in seven games. The Drakkar couldn’t get much going on Francis Leclerc as he posted a sparkling .932 save percentage over the series. The Wildcats had the look of a team who could go on a run due to their offensive firepower if they could receive some help from their defense and goaltending. This became even more crucial when their young stud Jakob Pelletier went down with an injury for most of the series, but Leclerc and his defense didn’t disappoint. Jeremy Mckenna and Mika Cyr stepped up to the plate in Pelletier’s absence with eleven and ten points respectively. Baie Comeau’s stars Nathan Légaré and Ivan Chekhovich (SJS) didn’t show up for the Drakkar as they could only put up four points each in the seven games.

 

#3 Rimouski Océanic (4) def. #6 Chicoutimi Saguenéens (0)

 

Despite a four-game sweep for Rimouski, the series was not as much of a blowout as it would suggest. The first three games were only one-goal wins including a quadruple overtime marathon in game two. 2020 NHL Draft prospect Alexis Lafrenière continued his domination leading the team with eight points in four games. His linemate Jimmy Huntington also chipped in seven points to continue his breakout season. The Wildcats upset now gives the Océanic an easier path to the Eastern Conference finals where Lafrenière will look to springboard a deep playoff run into cementing his spot at the top of everyone’s 2020 draft boards. The President Cup playoffs will be a better spot with Lafrenière involved so a deep run would be ideal for all fans of the league.

 

#5 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (4) def. #4 Charlottetown Islanders (2)

 

A two-game deficit heading home for game three was nothing for the Eagles to overcome as they fired back with four straight wins to take the series over their rivals. Hometown hero Mitchell Balmas put the team on his back with eleven points to continue his junior career and build his case to receive another NHL camp invite in the summer. Charlottetown had another overage player in Daniel Hardie perform well in his final playoffs with nine points, but it was ultimately not enough as his junior career came to an end at the hands of Balmas and the Eagles.

 

Second Round Match-ups


Western Conference


#1 Rouyn-Noranda Huskies vs #4 Victoriaville Tigres
#2 Drummondville Voltigeurs vs #3 Sherbrooke Phoenix

 

Eastern Conference

 

#1 Halifax Mooseheads vs #7 Moncton Wildcats
#3 Rimouski Océanic vs #5 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles

 

———————————

 

See you in the third round!



Follow me on twitter @Roto_Nate for QMJHL and New York Islanders prospects coverage.



Nate Duffett