Thursday, December 18, 2008

Second Chances

After facing 61 shots (giving up 8 goals) in his last start for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, one had to wonder when Antoine Lafleur was going to get another start. To the credit of the Huskie's coaching staff the answer was the very next game.

Lafleur only had to face 29 shots against the Val-d'Or Foreurs and only gave up 2 goals as the Huskies showed much better defensive support in winning 4-2.

For Lafleur, it was his 9th win of the season and it had to be a huge confidence booster to bounce right back after what he went though on Sunday against Drummondville. The young goalie from Gatineau has had some trying times over the last couple of years but this season has had more positives than negatives.

Against the Foreurs, Lafleur gave up a late first period goal then the second about 8 minutes into the second period. After that Lafleur shut the door as his teammates scored the game's last 3 goals to give Lafleur this win.

On the season Lafleur is 9-5-0 with a 3.22 GAA as well as a .876 save percentage. Lafleur is now going to be under a lot of pressure in the second half of the season to earn his Ranger contract as well as help the Huskies make a run in the QMJHL playoffs.


The question we would like to ask Chris Doyle is which player will he be in his second half of the season with the Prince Edward Island Rockets? Will he be the player who climbed as high as the second best scorer in the QMJHL?

Or will he just a one half season player who does just enough to get by? Doyle has for the most part cooled off as a scorer while PEI has struggled and if Doyle has any hope of earning a professional contract then he has to turn it up an even higher level in the second half.

The current leading scorer among Ranger prospect at 17-27-44, there is offensive potential here especially on the power play where Doyle has 10 of his goals. Against the Victoriaville Tigres on Thursday evening, Doyle took the lead among Ranger prospects in another 2 areas.

One area is not so bad which is Doyle getting into his 3th fight of the season just one second into the game as he took on the Tigre's Alex Labonte. The two mixed it up last time the teams met and this was more grab and dump than actual fist work.

As a fighter, Doyle needs to work on his balance as he goes for the huge bomb but knocks himself down by losing his balance. Doyle can throw some punches but he will be more middleweight at the professional level than serious enforcer.

Doyle will stand up for his teammates which is always something we like to see but still Doyle as one of the main offensive threats for the Rockets has to pick his spots better.

As for the game itself, the reason we had not mentioned it up until this point was because the Rocket were shut out for the second straight game this time 2-0. The news is going to get worse because the Rocket have to play their 3 straight game on Friday against that same team that bombed Lafleur last Sunday which is the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

Did we mention that the Voltigeurs have won 16 straight games going into Friday's matchup? This one will not be pretty as the Rocket might be heading to a massacre.

(Lafleur pic courtesy of Michael Fortin)

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