Just over a month ago, the Drummondville Voltiguers were 10th in the CHL Top 10 Rankings. Now, the team is in free-fall, and it cost head coach Martin Raymond and assistant coach Louis Robitaille their jobs over the weekend. The tipping point came Saturday night after a 5-1 loss to the Chicoutimi Saguenéens. This was Raymond’s third season as head coach after spending time with the Hamilton Bulldogs and Tampa Bay Lightning before that.
The Voltiguers red-hot start—they began the season 10-2-0-0—was a surprise considering they missed the playoffs in 2014-15 and didn’t make too many moves to improve in the off-season. They’ve cooled off considerably, going 3-7-0-0 in their past 10 games, and are in ninth place.
Here’s more news from around the ‘Q’ this weekend:
Beauvillier suspended indefinitely
The Shawinigan Cataractes will be without the services of Anthony Beauvillier after a hit to the head of Blainville-Boisbriand Armada defenceman Nathanael Halbert. Beauvillier was handed a checking to the head penalty and a game misconduct 41 seconds into overtime. Philippe Sanche scored on the ensuing power play, completing a natural hat-trick and giving the Armada a 5-4 win.
Even though Beauvillier will miss time in the “Q,” he’s still eligible to play for Team QMJHL in the Canada Russia Series this week in Rouyn-Noranda (Tuesday) and Halifax (Thursday). The New York Islanders first-rounder has 16 goals and 18 assists in 17 games.
Meanwhile, the Armada will be without Halbert for 3-4 weeks after the hit. He has a goal and eight assists though 16 games.
Pay day for prospects
A handful of NHL prospects signed three-year entry-level contracts this week: Val-d’Or Foreuers centre Anthony Richard with the Nashville Predators who selected him 100th overall in June and Victoriaville Tigres winger Samuel Blais with the St. Louis Blues (176th in 2014).
Congrats to Samuel Blais on his first NHL contract with the St Louis Blues. @TigresVicto
— Bruce Richardson (@coachbrucy) November 13, 2015
Rouyn-Noranda Huskies blueliner Jérémy Lauzon (52nd in 2015) also signed with the Boston Bruins.
Sherbrooke Pheonix, Pelletier heating up
The Sherbrooke Phoenix are showing signs of life after a disappointing start to the season, sitting in 10th place and going 7-0-1-2 in their past 10 games. Off-season acquisition Guillaume Gauthier continues to excel on his new team with 23 goals, tops in the league, holding the fort for last season’s top goal-scorer, Daniel Audette, who’s been sidelined since the end of October with a separated shoulder. One of the players stepping up in Audette’s absence is Julien Pelletier, also acquired during the off-season. He had a pair of goals and two assists Saturday night for Sherbrooke in a 4-1 win over Shawinigan. He’s up to 11 goals—one more than he had in 53 games last season—and 18 points in 19 games.
Pelletier looked like a promising prospect after a 25-goal, 50-point rookie campaign for Cape Breton in 2013-14. The Columbus Blue Jackets nabbed him 107th overall that year, but he struggled last season in Cape Breton and was traded to Rouyn-Noranda. His numbers didn’t improve and he again was on the move on draft day when the Phoenix acquired him in exchange for Gabriel Fontaine and a second-rounder in 2016.
Adding to their injury woes, the Phoenix will be without stud defenceman Jérémy Roy for two weeks after he injured his leg Saturday night against Shawinigan. Roy will miss the Canada Russia Series and will be replaced by Rouyn-Noranda’s Philippe Myers.
Garland’s helpers extend streak
Moncton Wildcats forward Connor Garland didn’t find the back of the net this week, but he piled up seven assists in two games to take back the scoring lead with 43 points. He was named the league’s second star for his effort, highlighted by four assists in a 5-4 overtime win over the Halifax Mooseheads. Garland has scored in every game he’s played in this season, averaging 2.26 points per game.
NHL draft-eligible prospect goes coast-to-coast
Samuel Girard is the only 2016 NHL Draft-eligible defenceman on the QMJHL squad for the Canada Russia Series. One guy who should crack the roster next year is Luke Green of the Saint John Sea Dogs. The first-overall pick of the 2014 QMJHL draft, Green knows how to turn on the jets. In a 3-2 overtime win against Halifax on Saturday, the sophomore whizzed by the entire Mooseheads team and skated behind the net for a wrap-around. The rebound was tapped in by Kyle Ward. Green has 11 points this season.