Moose have few predators. But the big powerful beast can be disturbed by several small critters that attack at the same time. It is in swarm, in group, that the Remparts intend to destabilize the Mooseheads in their series of first round, which begins Friday, in Halifax.
Swarm , cloud, swarm. The word came back several times in Patrick Roy’s mouth on Wednesday morning on the ice of the ExpoCité Youth Pavilion. On the eve of leaving for Nova Scotia, the Remparts head coach once again focused on zone defensive training.
” Swarm means that when the puck is in the corner of the rink, we want to be five in the corner, to cut the space to the holder of the puck. At one against a team of their strength, it will be more difficult for us than if we are five guys ready to crush the game in the corner of the rink, “says Roy.
Nobody is deluded. The Remparts leave largely neglected. Halifax won the Eastern Conference Championship with 22 wins and 35 points more than Quebec City, in addition to scoring 103 more goals (300 versus 197) and conceding 72 fewer goals (164 vs. 236).
And the Mooseheads are even harder to beat in Halifax, where they are 25-5-2-2 in the season and 9-0-0-1 in their last 10 outings in front of their fans.
The excellent success rate of 28% of their massive attack climbs even over 30% on their rink. Luckily, Quebec is the least punished team in the QMJHL.
The glass half full
To add a layer, the Remparts have not won a series since 2015. The sore of an elimination in the seventh game last year in the first round is still keen for the seven players who are still with the team. No current skater has known the joys of winning a series in the Remparts uniform.
“I think about it,” admits the 20-year-old captain and defender Étienne Verrette. “It’s been three years since we lost in the first round. We learn from these experiences and we try not to repeat the same mistakes. You have to keep your head up and go one game at a time, “summarizes Verrette.
As for Roy, he found his place at the helm of the team only a few weeks after the heartbreak exclusion of last spring under the orders of Philippe Boucher.
“I’d rather watch the glass half full,” says Roy. In my eight years as head coach of the Remparts [2005 to 2013], we lost only once in the first round, the year after the Memorial Cup . So, I do not worry! We will try to be as competitive as possible and give the Moosheads a hard time. Like all teams neglected, we will try to surprise, “concludes the boss.
In front of the net, Roy will first trust Anthony Pagliarulo.
Dylan Schives was lying on the bench, on the back. The face as pale as her long blond hair. His teammates wondered what he was doing there; the workout was not even started.
A few seconds earlier, on Wednesday morning, as he set up one of the nets on the rink of the Youth Pavilion, the Remparts rookie defenseman had just been shot in the hand by a shot from teammate Matthew Grouchy.
Returned to the bench to see the origin of the growing pain under his glove, he discovered a big bump inflating on the back of his right hand. Vision that made him bend his knees. After he stretched himself out, he had to raise his legs with crates of milk, waiting for the arrival of team therapist Steve Bélanger.
“I made the jump. The bump was really big! “Later commented on Schives, about his moment of weakness. After receiving the care of Bélanger, who wrapped his hand tightly, and a pair of more padded gloves, the 17-year-old Ontarian took part in the final half-hour of training, though he could barely hold his hand. stick with both hands.
“We will see tomorrow. If there is one that can bring him back, it’s Steve, “said head coach Patrick Roy, admitting he was not surprised to see Grouchy involved in such an unfortunate incident.
Schives’ presence is therefore uncertain for the opening game of the series on Friday in Halifax. The Remparts leave Quebec for sixty hours, while the number two clash is Saturday night, still at Scotiabank Center.
The next three meetings would be held at the Videotron Center, since the distance between the two cities exceeds just the 1000 km (1023) required in the 2-3-2 format dictated by the LHJMQ league which pays the plane ready to take off from Quebec City to 12:30 pm, Thursday