According to Halifax Mooseheads coach Eric Veilleux, the first game of the series against the Remparts on Friday is what his players have been working on all year, with 49 wins and 102 points.
“We’re talking about Friday since the beginning of the year,” Veilleux said in a telephone interview with Le Soleil. “I think we have made good progress this year, that the process to improve has been well established,” says the one who ensures not to take the Remparts, who beat them twice in the regular season, lightly .
“You said, they beat us twice, so we have to take that into account. We use that. Plus, in the playoffs , anyone can beat anyone, so we get ready based on that, “said Veilleux. “For our part, we will play our style of play, that is to say, use our speed and be effective in transition. It will also play well defensively.
Of course, the Mooseheads, which host this year’s Memorial Cup tournament, are aiming for the highest peaks. “There are sixteen teams in the playoffs. Me, I was first, second, seventh, but, no matter the position, when you start the series, there is never a team meeting where you talk about anything other than going to end.”
Veilleux intends to tell his players to keep an eye on Philippe Kurashev, Andrew Coxhead and Aleksei Sergeev. “It’s certain they’re big chunks, so we’ll have to watch them,” he says. The Mooseheads have a strong pair of goaltenders in the net in Alexis Gravel, the number one with a 2.49 goals-against average and his substitute Cole McLaren (1.81). “My two goaltenders have been good all year, but we’re going with Alexis.”
After three seasons in the American League and one in the East Coast League, Eric Veilleux believes that his return to the QMJHL, where he had previously led the Shawinigan Cataractes and the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, went well. “I think this season has passed quickly!” He says. “In the American League, I think I went for patience. I am calmer now. I’m a pretty demanding coach , but I’ve learned there are ways to ask, even though I’ve never been a big screamer, “he says.
“Basically, it’s not that complicated: in the junior ranks as well as the pros, you try anything, but when a player does not work, he does not play!” He continues, adding that the transition does not was not so difficult between the San Antonio Rampage and the Moosheads. “Players here appreciate that everyone is treated the same way. That’s what they told me when I phoned them all after my appointment last year. It annoyed them, the laissez-faire without consequence. So it made my job easier, “he says, assuring that his protégés have worked hard all year long and want to win.
For now, the Mooseheads are healthy and only forwards Maxim Trépanier, acquired from the Gatineau Olympiques in December, and Cole Stewart are uncertain cases for the start of the series. “For the rest of the players, we will see training Friday,” concluded Veilleux.