Both will say from the outset. The 40th final of the Development League Quebec Midget AAA which will begin Friday night at the Magog arena is one that was unpredictable there are only a few weeks.
If we dwell only to numbers from the regular season, a clash between fifth place teams (Magog) and eleventh (Lake St. Louis) was probably not the final desired by fans, scouts and possibly even among the high authorities of the league who like to have the best possible team to defend their colors in the Telus Cup. I want to clarify that there is a world of difference between a wish and have a bias. The league leaders are completely neutral, you can take my word.
Back to our antagonists in the final. Especially to tell you that since the last week of February, it is the Lions and Cantonniers actually are the two best teams in the league and by many.
Lions began their three series on foreign rinks and to admit that they are quite comfortable. On the way to the final four seven, protected by Jon Goyens have made short work of Jonquière Elites in the quarterfinals and the Phoenix Esther-Blondin in the semifinals. It is especially important to remember that Jonquière and Esther-Blondin occupying the top two positions in the overall standings after the regular season. As fascinating journey.
Cantonniers are not left for eliminating the defending champions, the Grenadiers of Châteauguay and Champions Challenge CCM, the Gauls Antoine-Girouard, two equally dominant teams that Jonquière and Esther-Blondin.
The true face of the Lions
We can still be kept in mind what got the Lac St-Louis since day 1 of the series? The answer is between the posts and the emergence of some players when it matters most. Here, you can immediately talk about rookie Mathias Laferrière totaling 19 points, including seven goals, in 11 games. In 45 games in the regular season, Laferrière had merely eight goals.
The other metamorphosis, the veteran goalkeeper Sandro 17 years Silvestre who is top of his game after a so-so season as evidenced by his personal statistics: efficiency percentage of .893 and goals against average of 3.22 . In the series, Silvestre signals a goal less per game (average of 2.34) and increased its efficiency rate at .922.
Finally, if the series were to end today, the rapid and dramatic Capannelli Adam would probably be declared the MVP of the playoffs with 21 points in 11 games, including 12 goals. Lions, is a lot of individual talent. Remember well as the names of Gabriel Fortier and Azarro Tinling.
But against Magog, the Lions, who have lost four of their six games against teenagers Félix Potvin in the regular season, hit a knot. Cantonniers are oiled clockwork. All is well calculated and the 18 skaters are responsible defensively. Frustrating to compete with Cantonniers by these days. All without Felix Potvin pulls on the rope to prevent his players to go into attack. Quite the contrary. And Cantonniers stay clear of the penalty box in the series. Lions deploy less frequently their power play was merciless in the other series.
I do not like the idea that Cantonniers undertake the final with a regular single keeper (Justin Blanchette) in uniform. Collisions with the goalkeeper may be more frequent.
The series will be long and exhausting, but on April 10, in the seventh game of the finals, Captain Christopher Benoit and his teammates will tour the ice arena with the Magog-Jimmy Ferrari Cup at the end of the arms.
On familiar ground
Place in the 40th final of the Midget AAA Development League Quebec. Lions du Lac St-Louis and Magog Cantonniers will be involved in this final best of seven that will take off tonight on the stroke of 19 hours at the Magog arena.
The Lions will be making their second consecutive presence in the final of Denis Baillargé circuit. There is one year, the Lions had suffered a scan in four games before the Châteauguay Grenadiers. They will try to make amends in 2015 after this humiliation into four parts.
Some of the team players will therefore be a second consecutive final and this experience could certainly use them against Magog. “Anyway, we know very well the team as we try to repatriate the Jimmy Ferrari-Cup. Châteauguay was extremely fast team and Antoine-Girouard counted on an explosive offensive. And as the Séminaire St-François, they are able to do a good job defensively when the situation demands. Lions is a bit of a mixture of Châteauguay and Antoine-Girouard. We had to cut out, but we have the elements to compete with them, “says Félix Potvin whose team kept a record of 4-2 against the Lac St-Louis in the regular season.
Since the start of the playoffs, the Lions pay dearly for indiscipline of their opponents with 17 powerplay goals in just 11 games. “It will avoid the penalty box. We know very well and our players do well on that date. Lions are using much of their power play to impose their tempo. We are not in the final by luck. It takes us a copy and paste from our previous series if we continue in the same vein, “said the pilot magogois.