Ahead of the Halifax Mooseheads 2-0 in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs, the Quebec Remparts do not have their heads in the clouds. On the contrary, since the 5-4 victory in overtime on Saturday, the motto in the team is to think only of the next game.
E t one is scheduled for Tuesday (19h) at Videotron Center, which will also be held the fourth match on Thursday. Same thing if a fifth was needed, Saturday, but already, we are far too much in the mind of head coach Patrick Roy.
Nevertheless, the two victories of his family from the opening of the playoff season, at the end of the week, surprised just about every expert.
“I would not use the word surprised , I would say we are happy with what we accomplished there. Now, we’re still in the same place we were when we arrived in Halifax: we want to play good hockey. I value how we play, and the way we played in Halifax, I like a lot, “admitted Roy.
He recommended to his troupe to have the same approach for the matches in Quebec than for those played on the rink. For the rest, no question of being satisfied with these two victories of 3-2 and 5-4, in overtime.
“I will not talk about the past because there is a match tomorrow [Tuesday]. Even if we would talk about the first two games for a week, it would not change anything because it is what will happen tomorrow [Tuesday] that matters. The goal is to remember how we felt when we arrived in Halifax. I would like us to be in the same state of mind. ”
For the last two days, Roy has received text messages from people who have not given him news often during the season. The head coach is not offended, it gives him enough time to prepare his troupe for the big dance of spring.
Enhanced numerical advantage
In particular, he spent a lot of time perfecting the numerical advantage. And even if the results have not always been present, it is likely that the red light will come on, eventually. Since the beginning of the series, his team have scored five of their eight goals on the power play, which shows a 50% (5 in 10) efficiency, the highest in the QMJHL so far in the playoffs.
“We’ve been working hard on our digital advantage all season long. I was one of those who thought that the puck would end up in our favor, “said the man who also appreciates the defensive play of his team.
“There may be some adjustments here and there. They scored big goals [on the power play], that’s the difference, “said Mooseheads head coach Eric Veilleux.
The Remparts could take advantage of the ice advantage as the 2-3-2 formula is currently playing in their favor. On the other hand, we do not make a fool of the idea of playing on the ice of the opponent three times in a row.
“Nowadays, yes, fans can make a difference, I have no doubt about it. So the advantage of ice cream … Do I believe in that? I do not believe in the next game, no matter where you play it. We know that it is important, we will be ready, “said the coach of the Mooseheads.
“If my name was Éric Veilleux, I would not believe in the advantage of ice cream either,” replied Patrick Roy when asked about it, without needing to say that the Mooseheads must play the next three games outside their home.
“THE SERIES IS FAR FROM BEING FINISHED” – GROUCHY
Author of four points in the first two games, Matthew Grouchy knows a strong start to the series for the Remparts. He was also the top scorer of his team last year in the first round.
“I have not had a very good season, I had ups and downs, but I think I have raised my game since the beginning of the series,” said the number 13 after the training held at the Videotron Center .
The native of Labrador had made a name for himself, on the eve of the initial game, by breaking the hand of teammate Dylan Schives a throw lost before training. The defender is absent, but the attacker has returned the smile.
“Series hockey is different for me, I find it a lot more fun. You live there or you die there. And for some, this is the last series in the junior major, so we try to get the most out of it. I try to have fun , it helps me, “added the one who shows a record of one goal and three assists in this series.
He is not surprised by the 2-0 lead of his team so far, but does not scream for victory.
“We won the first two games, but the series is far from over. There is a lot of pressure on them [the Mooseheads] because they are the hosts of the Memorial Cup, but I know they will be starving. And they will be even more so because they have just been beaten twice at home. We will have to be ready, because a couple of mistakes and we can end up behind, “said Grouchy.
Like visitors, locals can also play better, according to Captain Etienne Verrette. “We knew we had to take our game up a notch in Halifax. I still think we can make some adjustments, we can do a little better. They are expected to come out with the knife between their teeth, but we too will have it to not give them the chance to return to the series. We want to make sure we get out as hard, if not more, than we did in the first two games. “