QMJHL Blog: Wildcats in total disarray

Conor Garland. (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty)

The Moncton Wildcats are in free fall. After going 12 games without a regulation loss, the team has dropped nine in a row. And after holding the Maritimes Division lead most of the season, they’ve slipped to sixth place with 69 points. The Saint John Sea Dogs now are in control of the division with 74 points and have two games in hand. Despite the losing streak, the Wildcats clinched a playoff spot this week.

In the midst of the slump, the team announced rookie Kevin Klima is out for the rest of the the season with a back injury from a hit on Jan. 31. He came back for one game on Feb. 5, but has been sidelined since. Klima is fourth in team scoring with 50 points and third in rookie scoring.

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According to Prospect-Stats.com, Moncton has a PDO of 99.45, 13th in the league. It’s a big drop off from a month ago at the end of the team’s winning streak when they had a PDO of 101.34, sixth overall at the time. The team’s Est.FC% is 51.42—a slight bump over their mark of 51.39 from a month ago, although they’ve fallen from sixth to eighth in the category.

Here’s what went down around the “Q” last week:

Povorozniouk’s rejuvenated junior career

Saint John Sea Dogs overage winger Sam Povorozniouk is having the most productive season of his junior career. He potted a pair of goals in a 6-5 overtime win versus Chicoutimi on Sunday to give him 30 on the campaign after being claimed on waivers from the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires in the off-season.

He’s now tied for the team lead in goals and has given the power play a shot in the arm, leading the team with 11 power-play markers. He’s been particularly hot of late—scoring four times over the weekend—and has points in 14 consecutive games, bringing his season total to 49.

Povorozniouk was the 36th pick of the 2011 OHL draft by the Saginaw Spirit. In 259 OHL games he had 47 goals, his 30 this season have come in 52 contests.

Allard a name to watch

Frédéric Allard is one name flying under the radar in NHL Draft conversations. The Chicoutimi Saguenéens defenceman had four assists on the weekend and sits third in blueliner scoring with 48 points. His point totals have exploded in his third season. After scoring twice in 2014-15 and four times as a rookie, he has 13 this season. His 48 points is also a career high.

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The 6-foot-1, 178-pounder may be a bit of an unknown since he wasn’t a participant in the Top Prospects game, the Canada Russia Series and hasn’t played for Canada in any major tournaments. Despite missing out on those marquee events, he’s the QMJHL’s highest-ranked defenceman on NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings, coming in at 36th. He also picked up CHL player of the week honours at the end of January.

Game called after ice issue

The Baie-Comeau Drakkar’s season is walking a fine line between tragedy and comedy. Sitting in last place with 19 points, they’re all but mathematically out of the playoffs (and even then it’s close). Last week, the team couldn’t play a pair of home games because of power failure at the Centre Henry-Leonard.

This week, a game between the the Charlottetown Islanders and Drakkar was suspended with 4:30 remaining because of “unsafe ice conditions” in Charlottetown. This issue started when a piece of a banner from an advertisement under the ice came through the surface. The officiating crew tried to fix the issue by cutting the banner and then tearing it out of the ice. With the Islanders ahead 5-2, the game was suspended.

The most entertaining part of the whole debacle is seeing the ice maintenance staff give it to the officiating staff for trying to fix the problems themselves. A strange moment and yet another chapter in a weird season for the Drakkar.

Franchise milestone for Olympiques

On Friday night, the Gatineau Olympiques hosted the Québec Remparts for the 3,000th game in club history. The franchise joined the QMJHL in 1973 as the Hull Festivals and became the Olympiques in 1976. After the city of Hull was amalgamated into Gatineau, the team changed to the current Gatineau Olympiques to start the 2003-04 season.

The Olympiques came out on top, winning the milestone game by a score of 6-1. Nashville Predators property Yakov Trenin led the way with a goal and two helpers. All eight shots he took were dangerous and he finished the night 16 for 18 in the faceoff circle.

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Trenin sits fourth in Olympiques scoring with 49 points in 46 games. (Getty Images)

Trenin’s points-per-game is down slightly this season—1.07 to 1.16—but his goal-scoring is up. After an 18-goal rookie campaign, he has 23 to date. He’s found the back of the net in four consecutive games, including a pair in Sunday’s 5-3 win over Blainville-Boisbriand and was named the league’s second star of the week.

Cadorrette sets league record

The Shawinigan Cataractes clinched a playoff berth last weekend with a pair of wins. In a battle of two heavyweights on Friday night, Shawinigan bested Val-d’Or 2-0. Philippe Cadorette turned away 26 shots for his first shutout of the season. It’s the 17th of Cadorette’s career, the most in QMJHL history. It’s the second time he’s set the record for shutouts. Last year on Feb. 21 he picked up his 16th, but later was tied by Alex Dubeau.

In last week’s blog, I wrote about Shawinigan’s awful record in the second of back-to-back games and it looked like they were following script on Saturday night against the Halifax Mooseheads. With the goalie pulled, Dennis Yan levelled the game with four seconds left. Brandon Gignac scored in overtime to give Shawinigan a 3-2 win and the rare back-to-back win.

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