Regular season and playoff champions in the Ligue de hockey midget AAA du Québec, the Rousseau Royal de Laval-Montréal will look to add a national title to their 2012-13 trophy case at the TELUS Cup.
It’s the second time in five years the team will represent Quebec at the National Midget Championship; known then as the Rousseau Sports de Laval-Bourassa, it took home the bronze medal from the 2009 tournament in Selkirk, Man.
Laval-Montréal will look to keep one of Canadian hockey’s most impressive streaks alive – every Quebec champion since 1989 has reached the semifinals of the TELUS Cup, a run of 24 consecutive years.
Despite that streak, it has been 11 years since the province’s last gold medal (Ste-Foy in 2001), and last year’s gold medal game appearance by Collège Esther-Blondin was the first by a Quebec team since 2004.
After the run of success the Rousseau Royal have had this season, they could very well be the team to end the gold medal drought and return Quebec to the top of the TELUS Cup podium for the first time in more than a decade.
Their 27-10-5 regular season record left them atop the LHMAAAQ standings for the second time in three seasons. But unlike 2010-11, when they were shocked by 14th-place Amos in the first round, there would be no early end to the playoff run.
A six-game win over Collège Charles-Lemoyne was followed by a seven-game semifinal triumph over Collège Antoine-Girouard, sending Laval-Montréal to a championship series match-up against Séminaire Saint-François, the LHMAAAQ’s first match-up between the top two regular season teams since 2004.
It looked as if the series would be a one-sided one after the Rousseau Royal romped to 8-1 and 5-0 wins on home ice to open the series, but the Blizzard wouldn’t go away, forcing overtime in Games 3 and 4.
Unfortunately for Séminaire Saint-François, Kevin Domingue scored the winner in Game 3 and Massimo Carozza was the extra-time hero in Game 4, finishing the sweep and clinching Laval-Montréal’s spot at the national championship.
“We played extremely well at home, and it put us in a good position,” head coach Andre Wilsey told the Guide de Montréal-Nord after Game 4. “We had a bit of a letdown in the third game, but we found a way to win.”
Domingue (19 points) and Carozza (15 points) were first and third, respectively, in team scoring during the postseason, sandwiched around Julien Nantel, who added 17 points to the team-leading 40 he amassed in the regular season.
Alexandre Duckett was a standout in the Laval-Montréal goal, playing 1,037 of 1,047 playoff minutes and finishing with a 2.26 goals-against average and .924 save percentage.
“We go one game at a time,” Wilsey said of his team’s mentality. “We will keep the same game plan, relying on our defense and the team concept, and Alexandre has our guys’ confidence in goal.”
HOW THEY GOT TO SAULT STE. MARIE
Ligue de hockey midget AAA du Québec
Quarter-final: defeated Collège Charles-Lemoyne 4-2 (1-3, 2-1 2OT, 6-2, 2-1, 3-4, 3-2)
Semifinal: defeated Collège Antoine-Girouard 4-3 (0-7, 6-2, 6-4, 0-3, 4-1, 4-6, 2-1)
LHMAAAQ championship: defeated Séminaire Saint-François 4-0 (8-1, 5-0, 6-5 OT, 2-1 OT)
Record: 27-10-5 (1st in LHMAAAQ)
Goals For: 145 (T-5th in LHMAAAQ)
Goals Against: 106 (1st in LHMAAAQ)
Longest Winning Streak: 5 (Oct. 6-21)
Top 3 Scorers:
Goals For: 60
Goals Against: 44
Top 3 Scorers:
NATIONAL MIDGET CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
2009 – Rousseau Sports de Laval-Bourassa | bronze medal | 2-3-2 | 24GF 26GA
PLAYERS TO WATCH
good skater … very mobile … good size … has improved his overall game … plays with much more confidence than earlier in the season … sees the ice well … high hockey IQ … good offensive instincts … good slap shot
crafty little offensive player … slick passing skills … good offensive instincts … natural play-maker … not afraid to go to the middle of the ice to make plays … strong effort level … hard-working attitude
effective two-way forward … excellent skating ability … plus speed … crafty offensive player … very good play-making ability … makes those around him better … naturally-gifted hands … good scoring touch
QMJHL DRAFTED PLAYERS
Julien Nantel – Rouyn-Noranda 2012 (2nd round, 30th overall)
Marc-Antoine Germain – Sherbrooke 2012 (4th round, 69th overall)
Gabriel Moreau – Chicoutimi 2012 (6th round, 94th overall)
Joseph Strong – Blainville-Boisbriand 2012 (7th round, 126th overall)
Massimo Carozza – Quebec 2012 (8th round, 144th overall)
Kevin Domingue – Sherbrooke 2012 (10th round, 166th overall)
Gabriel Labbé – Acadie-Bathurst 2012 (11th round, 190th overall)