Wednesday, April 18, 2012

About Last Night

By Andrew McGilligan
SN Staff

I'm not sure there's ever been or will be another night like April 17 in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Let's start in Shawinigan , where Cemtre Bionest should be good and ready for the Memorial Cup because it won't see any action for a month as the Cataractes won't play again until May 18. The Cataractes, Mem Cup hosts, we're ousted by the Chicoutimi Sagueneens. So what's the reward for beating the host team, the Sags get to play the Sea Dogs.

Congrats to the Sags, I didn't think they could pull off the upset, but they managed and thanks in no small part to the goaltending of Christopher Gibson.

The loss by Shawinigan is a black eye for the QMJHL as it makes it the second straight time the Q host team has failed to reach the President's Cup final. Rimouski was defeated in 2009 before reaching the league final.

I'm sure some Sea Dogs fans are taking some joy in the Cataractes loss, given the animosity felt toward the league and team after Saint John lost the bid to host the 2012 Mem Cup.

Rimouski advanced in a wild game. Up 4-0, the Oceanic watched the lead evaporate thanks to four-straight markers by the Armada, but Peter Trainor’s eighth of the playoffs with less than eight minutes to go sealed the win for Rimouski .

The Oceanic will face the Mooseheads and honestly who wants to play Halifax at this moment.

Down 3-0 in the series to the Remparts, Halifax comes storming back to win four straight, the last two in the Colisee. This will surely go down as one of the best comebacks in league history.

An unbelievable game was capped off with an overtime winner from Jonathan Drouin of the Mooseheads for a 5-4 win, but the real hero was Mooseheads 20-year-old captain Cameron Citchlow.

The New Brunswick native scored four goals and willed his team to the win with a performance for the ages. He earned a TSN SportsCentre shout out from Jay Onrait who referred to him as a friend of the show.

I’m not sure anyone could have predicted Critchlow’s performance, but at least one former QMJHL general manager knew he could be a special player.

Here’s what then Acadie-Bathurst Titan GM Sylvain Couturier said at the 2007 QMJHL entry draft shortly after making Critchlow a surprise first-round pick.

Couturier said it was Critchlow’s character and potential that made him such a desirable pick, vaulting him up the draft ranking from 57th to 14th.

"He's aggressive, has good speed and we think he can turn out to be a good power forward in this league," Couturier said. “We think someday he could be a great captain for our team.”

While it may not have been for the Titan, Critchlow certainly made good on Couturier’s draft day predictions.

Game 1 between the Sea Dogs and Sags takes place Friday at Harbour Station.

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