Timo Meier had an astounding 13 points in four games to lead all Sharks prospects in playoff action thus far.
Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (1) vs. Blainville-Boisbriand Armada
In our first-round preview, I stated that the Huskies would win their series in three games. I may have given them too much time there. With a 10-0 victory to start, this series was never in doubt. Sharks fans will be relieved to know that Timo Meier played pretty well.
Meier’s 13 points (!!!) in four games helped the Huskies outscore Drummondville Voltigeurs 33-4 in this series. To summarize, when the Huskies had a full team, their opponents almost never scored as at least two of the Voltigeurs goals came with most of the team benched. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a series so one-sided.
So the Huskies are on to the second round where they will face the team that pulled off the biggest upset of the CHL playoffs. The Armada entered these playoffs as massive underdogs having to face the Val-D’Or Foreurs, the team many thought would challenge the Huskies for the QMJHL Championship.
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However as many know, success in the playoffs can be random at times and that is what happened in this series. Behind a .933 save percentage by Florida Panthers prospect Samuel Montembeault, the Foreurs couldn’t buy a goal as the Armada advanced in six games. This result should be seen as an anomaly since Montembeault’s body of work hasn’t been impressive. But that is what playoff hockey is notorious for, random results due to hot goaltending.
Because of this, like the Foreurs, the Huskies should still be seen as massive favorites in this series. There is potential for an upset when facing a team riding the PDO train, but Montembeault should be very busy in this series. If Meier can shoot the puck as many times as we know he can, that will go a long way to ensure the Huskies advance to the semifinals.
Shawinigan Cataractes (12) vs. Charlottetown Islanders
Like the previous round, this series will have Cavan Fitzgerald against a team that owns the rights to a Sharks prospect. Though this time, Alexis Vanier will be suiting up and playing Fitzgerald head-to-head. This series offers two different perspectives of interest.
First we look at the favorite, the Shawinigan Cataractes. With the Foreurs eliminated, the Cataractes are now the team that will challenge the Huskies for the QMJHL Championship. If the pressure wasn’t on before, this team is certainly feeling it now. While the Sherbrooke Phoenix were handled with little difficulty in five games, this franchise won’t settle for a second-round exit.
Sharks fans will also want to check in on the play of Fitzgerald, with seven points in five games, Fitzgerald looks ready for the San Jose Barracuda next year. However, the main story is another Cataractes defenseman who is establishing himself as the Erik Karlsson of the QMJHL.
With over a point-per-game, Samuel Girard could sneak into the top-15 of this year’s entry draft. As we have seen with the Ottawa Senators, a defenseman that can push play and score at any given moment is nearly impossible to contain. Along with star players Anthony Beauvillier and Dmytro Timashov, the Islanders will have their hands full.
Speaking of the Islanders, Vanier had himself a solid first-round scoring seven points in six games. Vanier is one of a few Sharks prospects left unsigned so like before, he is fighting for a chance to earn a contract with the Sharks. So seeing how he handles an elite Cataractes squad could determine his NHL fate.
Otherwise, this series should be a lot of fun to watch. Anytime you see two offensive dynamos in Beauvillier and Daniel Sprong playing against one another, that usually makes for some fun hockey.