The first round of the QMJHL Playoffs is over, and the big story is the upset victory of Blainville-Boisbriand over Val D’Or. Even with that surprising result, LWOS had six of the eight first round winners, and in four of those six series we even had the correct number of games. Not one to live off our past predictions though, the second round begins on Thursday night, and so its time to preview the new matchups.
This article will be a look at who performed well in the first round, as well as a prediction for the second round. You can read the last article which goes into the strengths of each team here.
2016 QMJHL Playoffs 2nd Round Preview
(1) Rouyn-Noranda Huskies vs. (13) Blainville-Boisbriand Armada
The Huskies rolled to a four game sweep of the Drummondville Volitigeurs in the first round, outscoring their opponent 33-4 in four games. The Huskies offence made it look easy, as Timo Meier had eight goals and 13 points in the round, while teammate Francis Perron had three goals and 10 assists to land in a tie for the playoff scoring lead. Jean-Christophe Beaudin and A.J. Greer helped provide secondary offence in the series with nine and eight points each. Defenceman Nikolas Brouillard had eight points and Jeremy Lauzon added six. Overall the Huskies showed why they are the favorites for the President’s Cup.
Blainville-Broisbriand pulled off the upset over Val D’or, the team that actually had the second most points in the QMJHL regular season. Goaltender Samuel Montembault was tremendous with a 2.19 goals against average and .933 save percentage in the series. He’ll need to be even better if the Armada are to stand a chance against the high-powered Huskies. Philip Sanche led the offence against the Foreurs with 11 points in six games. Overall though, the Armada are even bigger underdogs in the second round than they were in the first.
Pick: Huskies in 5
(2) Shawinigan Cataractes vs. (9) Charlottetown Islanders
After losing the first game of their series to the Sherbrooke Phoenix, Shawinigan took the next four to win the round in five games. Leafs prospect Dmytro Tymashov led the way for the Cataractes with nine points in the series, while Alexis D’Aoust had eight points and Danny Moynihan had seven points. Anthony Beauvillier also chipped in with five points. On the blueline Cavan Fitzgerald (seven points) and Samuel Girard (four point) led the attack. Philippe Cadorette was his usual stingy self between the pipes with a 1.96 goals against average and .926 save percentage.
Charlottetown defeated the defending QMJHL champs from Rimouski in six games in the first round. Samuel Blais (12 points) and Daniel Sprong (nine points) did the majority of the offensive damage for the Islanders forwards, while Alexis Vanier (seven points) was strong on the backend. It was goaltender Mason McDonald’s .922 save percentage that stabilized things at the backend and was key to the victory.
Pick: Cataractes in 6
(3) Saint John Sea Dogs vs. (7) Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
Saint John had little trouble in their first round series with Acadie-Bathurst, getting out to a 3-0 series lead before taking things in five games. Sam Povorozniouk (nine points), Matthew Highmore (seven points), Mathieu Joseph (seven points) and Nathan Noel (seven points) lead the way for the Sea Dogs forwards, while Thomas Chabot (five points) quarterbacked the offence from the blue line. Marc-Antoine Turcotte had a .909 save percentage in the series.
Cape Breton was faced with a tough first round series, but managed to pull things out against Chicoutimi in six games. Yevgeni Svechnikov (10 points), Maxim Lazarev (10 points), Michael Joly (nine points), and Pierre-Luc Dubois (five points) led the way for the Screaming Eagles up front, while Oliver Leblanc chipped in with eight assists from the blue line. While the offence in Cape Breton can compete with almost anyone, goaltending continues to be an issue with Alexandre Bélanger putting up a .901 save percentage.
Pick: Sea Dogs in 7
(5) Gatineau Olympiques vs. (6) Moncton Wildcats
Gatineau rolled in four straight over a Quebec Remparts team weakened by injuries. Gabryel Paquin-Boudreau led the way with five goals and eight points in the series, while Vitali Abramov picked up five goals and six points. The dynamic duo scored 10 of the teams 16 goals, with no other player scoring more than a single goal. The Gatineau defence was stingy as they gave up just 6 goals in the series, with both Mark Grametbauer and Mathieu Bellemare seeing time between the pipes.
Moncton took care of Victoriaville in just five games. It should come as no surprise that Conor Garland, the QMJHL scoring leader in each of the last two regular seasons, led the way with three goals and eight points. Stephen Johnson (4 goals, 6 points) and Zack MacEwen (3 goals, 5 points) helped out along the way. Goaltender Keven Bouchard really stepped up with a .919 save percentage in the series, an improvement on the .883 he put up in the regular season.
Pick: Gatineau in 6