rtec express du richelieu
Road to the Esso Cup: Express du Richelieu
The Quebec champions may be a superstitious bunch, but they created their own luck to make it to Weyburn
Wendy Graves
|
April 12, 2016
|

The Express du Richelieu spent a lot of time watching the clock during the 2015-16 season. Not so much to see how much time was left in a game – it mostly didn’t matter: the team was often ahead, usually by multiple goals – but to know when to make a wish.

Every time the game clock, or any clock in the rink, showed duplicating numbers – 7:07 left in a period; 11:11 a.m. – the players would stop head coach Michel Dubé and tell him to make a wish with them. The wish was always the same: make it to the 2016 Esso Cup.

Once in a game an offside call brought a whistle with 4:44 showing on the clock. The players, says Dubé, asked him to take a timeout so they could make a wish. (That particular wish wasn’t granted.)

Dubé had his team motivated from Day 1. Quebec has not sent a team to the Esso Cup since 2013, when LHFDQ Nord won the title, so the coach announcing at August camp that the provincial champion would be going to nationals this time inspired the Express to work twice as hard.

Frequently players came to practice and games with drawn-on tattoos representing the Esso Cup, reminding themselves of where their season could end.

It worked. The team went unbeaten through its first 15 games, including running off 11 wins in a row at one point, and lost only three of 24 games.

Two of those defeats came at the hands of its biggest rival, the Élites de l’Estrie. Richelieu beat Estrie in the finals of the Dodge Cup twice in recent years, and the Élites took two tournament finals over the Express this year.

The team’s first loss to Estrie was its first loss of the season and provided a turning point. After both goals against came on the power play, Dubé says the team adjusted its defensive system and penalty kill.

By the end of the season the Express had built enough of a cushion that it could withstand losing its last two games and still capture the regular season title by one point over the Citadelles de la Capitale-Nationale.

Thirteen teams qualified for the playoffs and were divided into two groups for the first preliminary round. Richelieu went 6-0 in its group to advance to Round 2. There, three of its four games needed overtime, including a win over Capitale-Nationale and a loss to Estrie; the team went 3-0-1-0.

After that, all that stood between Richelieu and a trip to the Esso Cup was its two biggest 2015-16 obstacles.

Capitale-Nationale awaited in the semifinal. The Citadelles led 1-0 after one. Forty seconds after they doubled that lead in the second, Katyanne Lebrun replied for the Express. Floriane Dion and Joannie Garand scored 23 seconds apart in the third period to put Richelieu in front, and Dion added another goal less than two minutes after that to seal a 4-2 win.

Estrie awaited in the championship game. As expected the two sides played evenly, with Éloïse Dubé scoring twice before the game was half over and the teams tied 2-2. Exactly as the clock struck the 10-minute mark of the second period, Garand found the back of the net, and the second half of the game belonged to the Express. Dubé completed her hat trick and Léonie Philbert scored in the third. Richelieu advanced to the Esso Cup with a 5-2 win.

It was Richelieu’s third straight provincial championship, but unlike in season’s past, celebration wasn’t followed by the disappointment of not going to nationals. The Express are finally Esso-bound and no doubt wishing the countdown clock will soon hit 0:00 so new wishes can be made.

HOW THEY GOT TO WEYBURN

Ligue de hockey féminin de développement du Québec
First round: 6-0-0-0 (defeated Laval-Montreal 7-0, defeated Sélects du Lac St-Louis 3-2 OT, defeated Triolet 3-1, defeated Outaouais 4-1, defeated Laurentides/Lanaudière 2-1, defeated Élites du Lac St-Louis 8-0)
Second round: 3-0-1-0 (defeated Capitale-Nationale 2-1 OT, lost to Estrie 4-3 OT, defeated Remparts du Richelieu 4-1, defeated Chaudière Ouest 3-2 OT)
Semifinal: defeated Capital-Nationale 4-2
Championship: defeated Estrie 5-2

REGULAR SEASON

Record (W-L-OTL-T): 19-3-0-2 (1st in LHFDQ)
Goals For: 82 (1st in LHFDQ)
Goals Against: 31 (T-3rd in LHFDQ)
Longest Winning Streak: 11 (Oct. 10-Nov. 21)

Top 3 Scorers:

  • Éloïse Dubé – 18G 10A 28P (1st in LHFDQ)
  • Léonie Philbert – 5G 22A 27P (2nd in LHFDQ)
  • Joannie Garand – 13G 11A 24P (T-5th in LHFDQ)


PLAYOFFS

Record: 11-1
Goals For: 48
Goals Against: 17
Top 3 Scorers:

  • Éloïse Dubé – 11G 7A 18P
  • Léonie Philbert – 5G 8A 13P
  • Floriane Dion – 10G 2A 12P


NATIONAL MIDGET CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY

First appearance

PLAYERS TO WATCH

ÉLOÏSE DUBÉ
protects the puck well … a threat in front of the net … precise passer … plays her best in big games … a leader who encourages her teammates … has the drive to win

LAURIE FONTAINE
offensive defenseman … impossible to beat one-on-one … fast and explosive skater … powerful slapshot … makes a great first pass … uses her body well to protect the puck

LÉONIE PHILBERT
Playmaker who sees the ice well … quick to find open spaces … defensively sound … consistent and reliable … excellent in all three zones … a leader who shows by example … calm and determined

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Coordinator, Media Relations
Hockey Canada
403-284-6484
[email protected]

 

Spencer Sharkey
Coordinator, Communications
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-777-4567
Mobile: 905-906-5327
[email protected]

 

Katie Macleod
Coordinator, Media Relations
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-284-6427
Mobile: 403-612-2893
[email protected]

 

Videos
Photos
2019 NPT Camp: WHT 5 – JPN 0 (Game 5)
Dunn lit the lamp three times to net White a victory over Japan.
2019 NPT Camp: RED 5 – JPN 0 (Game 4)
Sorley and Culmone netted two goals apiece to lead Red to the victory.
2019 NPT Camp: RED 1 – WHT 0 (Game 3)
Culmone scored and Larocque made 14 saves to help Red blank White.
2019 NPT Camp: WHT 15 – JPN 0 (Game 2)
McGregor drove his team to the win column with a six-point outing.
Schedule