Entrenched for five years at the top of the hierarchy of the junior hockey League B eastern ontario (CCHL2), Vikings de Casselman will they be able to push the audacity to add a sixth championship consecutive ?
The 15 other clubs in the league will do everything possible to prevent them from accomplishing this feat unprecedented in the history of the circuit born in 1967. “Just to look at Twitter, we see that we are the enemy to shoot down. Everyone wants our skin. All the world hates us, but this is not serious. We are willing to live with it “, said the club’s executive director Raymond Lavergne.
The Vikings have started their season 2018-19 with three wins in four matches, but for once, they would not be favorites to parade around with the cup Barkley. The Canadian junior Ottawa, the last club to have won the cup before the reign of the five years of the Vikings in 2013, began his season by winning his first five fights.
“Everyone says that the Canadian is the best club in the league on paper. They have a team to maturity. We’re going to play against them on Thursday. We’ll see where we’re at and make adjustments from there, ” said Lavergne, who watched from a dozen players of the last edition champion.
One of those, Danyk Drouin, has made the leap into the League of Ontario (LHO) with the Generals in Oshawa. “We are proud of this boy of Casselman. He fully deserves what happens to him. It is the second player in four years that pass with us at the LHO after Oliver Castleman (Niagara). No one else in the league was not able to do that. “
There are 13 new faces in the Vikings this season. This is huge for this franchise used to build its success around its veterans. “We are supposed to be a year of rebuilding, but we aim higher than that. We are pleased with the players that we have. Our few veterans will have to show leadership on the ice as much as on the outside. We do not have a lot. Some were excellent, others are not. They will have to wake up if they don’t want to have bad surprises. At my age, I have less patience ! “
The current edition of the Vikings will be led by captain Brady Cloutier and the veterans Joel Hunt, Yanick Dicaire, Jason Cossette, Shane Spencer and Gabriel Rousselle.
Alexandria and Embrun
Also in the teams of eastern ontario with a strong francophone presence, the Glens of Alexandria (2-2-0) should be part of the elite, especially that they rely on Mikael Gibeault, one of the best markers natural of the league. The defensive, led by Nicholas Andre, will be formidable and goalkeeper Nicolas Rousseau is preceded by a good reputation.
On their side, the Panthers of Embrun (0-3-1) may have more difficulty than last year, where they had surprised many observers after making the jump from junior C to junior B. More than half of their players went to play elsewhere this season, including a few at the junior level C. They have six new defenders and also two new keepers.
HARD NEXT DAY SAVER FOR SMALL SENATORS
In the perpetual cycle of junior hockey, there is a price to pay after three attendances in a row, in the final.
Champions League central junior A (CCHL) in 2018 after having been finalists in 2016 and 2017, ” small “, the Ottawa Senators have begun a period of transition this year. Head coach Martin Dagenais can already feel the effects of the loss of 14 of its 23 players champions cups Bogart and Fred Page since the CCHL has launched its operations three weeks ago.
Despite encouraging signs over recent matches, the Senators show a record of 3-4-0 after seven matches.
“I dare to hope that we will fight to obtain the benefit of the ice in the first round of the series (positions 1 to 4), but considering all of our new faces, we will have more chances to finish around 5th or 6th place. Our team was old last year after three consecutive appearances in the final. It is now found in the average age of the league. I know that we have to improve, but it will have to be patient, ” said Dagenais, whose team has lost its four games by the margin of a single goal (excluding the nets deserts) until now.
If there is a place where Senators will not have to worry about, it will be in front of the net with the return of Francis Boisvert that Dagenais considers as one of the best in the league.
“We have work to do in defensive. Adrien Bisson will be our general. Our attack will pass by Darcy Walsh and Elijah Boulerice (Casselman). Ethan Manderville is another big piece. Samuel Hatto (former Olympic) are going to help us, even if it can give a little more, ” said Dagenais about Hatto, who has tallied seven points in seven matches.
As is often the case, the Canadians in Carleton Place (6-2-1) go again to the championship of the regular season. The Hawks Hawkesbury (6-1-0) seem to gone to their making a hot fight. In search of a first title since 2006, they are betting on the return of several veterans and they have done a good recruitment. Jeremiah Lavallee and Luke Grainger, two Quebecers who are coming from schools in the united states, are already the top scorers of the club.
In Rockland, the Nats (4-5-1) have a very young team with 11 players of 16 or 17 years old. They are expected to occupy the second portion of the ranking, but they will have a solid core to make some noise next season.
In Cornwall, the Colts (2-6-0) will have to fight for a place in the series and it will be the same at Navan where the Grads (2-7-1) are on probation after having played in the bar ,250 last year. If they were to win less than 25 % of their matches for a second consecutive season, the board of governors of the league would have the right to redeem the club to disband or to move it. The Grads have never won a playoff series since entering the league in 1991.
JUNIOR C : TWO CLUBS LESS
The champions of the junior hockey League of the national capital (junior C) will not defend their title this season. The Vikings, Papineau have closed up shop after being bought by a group of Stittsville, who has decided to give herself a year before joining the circuit. The closure of the arena from Papineauville, has sounded the death knell of this team, without a fixed address. During the last final of the league, the Vikings had to play their local matches in four amphitheatres different. The Hull-Volant de Gatineau will be the only course in quebec this circuit that will count 10 teams in 2018-19, two fewer than last year.
The teams of Blackburn and Cumberland are also not back. These last (the Bandits) have preferred to focus on the new senior League Has the Outaouais region. A team of West Carleton will be his debut in the circuit, which always has all the franchises in Vanier (Bytown), Vankleek Hill, St-Isidore and Clarence in particular. These last two, the Beavers and Eagles, have won their first duels of the season last week.