Maine Hockey Journal

MAINEiacs Open the Season This Weekend

As most NHL and AHL teams get set to open up training camps, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League opens up their season today.  The Gatineau Olympiques who are the defending President’s Cup Champions will kick the season off against the Victoriaville Tigres.  On the other hand, the Lewiston MAINEiacs open up their sixth season on Friday against the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in Baie-Comeau at 7:30pm.  Saturday night they make a trip to Chicoutimi to face the Sagueneens.  Faceoff time is at 4pm.  You can hear both games on 870 and 1470am ESPN Radio.  Telus offers a free webcast.

Lewiston Maineiacs
2007-2008 Season: 37-26-5-2 (5th in the Atlantic Division)
Goals For (2007-2008): 222
Goals Against (2007-2008): 212
Powerplay Goals (2007-2008): 71
Powerplay Percentage (2007-2008): 17.4%
Penalty Kill Pecentage(2007-2008): 85.6%
Shorthanded Goals For (2007-2008): 10

Like all the teams in the QMJHL, the MAINEiacs are losing players to NHL Camps.  They will be without Captain Danick Paquette and Assistant Captain Patrick Cusack as they head to Atlanta Thrashers camp.  They will be participating in the Traverse City Prospect Tournament that’s being held in Traverse City, Michigan.  They will be joining former MAINEiacs defenseman Chad Denny who will also be suiting up for the Thrashers at the tournament.  Peter Delmas, Lewiston’s staring goalie, will head to Colorado’s camp on the 14th.  Denis Reul heads to Boston Bruins camp on September 16th.  Recently acquired Max Gratchev will head to Islanders camp on the 15th.  Michael Ward, a Tampa Bay selection in 2007, will be leaving on the

Who will fill the role when these guys are gone?  We will have to wait and see but fans will get a heavy dose of the rookies.  Michael Chaput and Étienne Brodeur, two of the Maineiacs first round picks, will see some minutes.  Michael is the brother of Stefan Chaput.  Also look for another rookie, Filip Janosik, a Slovakian born forward to get top minutes.  Alex Beaton needs to take his game to the next level while the veterans are gone.  In Midget AAA, he put up numbers but it hasn’t translated to the QMJHL game so far.

The MAINEiacs will be without their top three defenseman to bein the season.  For most team, that would be a cause for concern but Lewiston has depth at the position.  Eric Gelinas will be entering his second season.  He had a strong second half last season.  He will be a top pairing defenseman when Cusack, Ward, and Reul are gone.  Garrett Clarke will finally arrive on the scene.  He was the Maineiacs top selection at the Draft.  He’s only 15 but should step right in.  The wildcard is free agent invitee Sean Stagles.  The Rochester, New York native is a powerplay specialist.

The real question mark coming into the beginning of the season is the goalie situation.  Jonathan Connelly and Phillip Wright have no QMJHL experience.  Connelly is the best of the two but at training camp he was shakey.  It should be interesting how these two do while Delmas is a mile above sea level.

Baie-Comeau Drakkar

2007-2008 Season: 45-19-4-2 (2nd in the Telus Division)
Goals For (2007-2008): 249
Goals Against (2007-2008): 210
Powerplay Goals (2007-2008): 65
Powerplay Percentage (2007-2008): 18.8%
Penalty Kill Pecentage(2007-2008): 86.7%
Shorthanded Goals For (2007-2008): 13

The Drakkar were one of the stronger teams in the Telus Division last year.  It will be a different story this season because they lost a bunch of players through graduation and trades.  Felix Petit who was with the Quebec Remparts last season he will be an offensive leader.

Baie-Comeau should be a good test for Lewiston.  They are probably are a weaker team then the MAINEiacs.  Lewiston also starts off slow but this game should get them off to a good start.  Marek Benda should be the starter for this contest. Marco Cousineau who will be the starter should be at the Anaheim Ducks camp.

Chicoutimi Sagueneens

2007-2008 Season: 37-25-2-6 (4th in the Telus Division
Goals For (2007-2008): 235
Goals Against (2007-2008): 203
Powerplay Goals (2007-2008): 71
Powerplay Percentage (2007-2008): 15.3%
Penalty Kill Pecentage(2007-2008): 81.8%
Shorthanded Goals For (2007-2008): 11

Chicoutimi will be without Nicolas Deschamps for sure as he heads to Anaheim for camp.  The Sagueneens could be without Jacob Lagace, Joel Champagne, and Charles-Antoine Messier who are all drafted into the NHL.  They all forwards and it will really hurt them if they are all gone this weekend.  They will rely on the young guys.

Defensively they will be led by Mathieu Bolduc and Sebastien Rioux.  They are both 20-year-olds and are puck moving defenseman.  In goal, Francois Levesque  will take over as the starter because in the off-season they traded away Bobby Nadeau their starter last year.

This should be a tough test for the MAINEiacs as they play back to back games.

That’s My Take

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post. He also started “The World of Junior Hockey Blog.” He can be reached at fourniern@students.nescom.edu)

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