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Road to the Memorial Cup: Lauko rides high with Rouyn Noranda, Pare and Rimouski have some X-Factors in their cap to compete

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We look at the prospects in the Q, one of whom is probably far closer to the Memorial Cup than anybody would ever admit.

Avertissement: Désolé, il n’y a pas de traduction française car je ne connais pas la langue. Demandez à un anglophone de vous donner les notes de ce post. Go Huskies ou Oceanic, qui que vous souteniez.

While in the OHL, Studnicka, Bukac and Keyser have a possible date with a dragon, Jakub Lauko has a much more advantageous position with his team in the QMJHL.

Because he, along with everyone else on that team of red and black, are the dragon.

The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies decided that the Q was a feast, and they ate ravenously over the 68 game season, losing a grand total of 9 games total, 8 in regulation, They’ve given up less goals than any other team in the league, and have only been beaten recently by the team whose topping out the goals-for category in Drummondville in a 2-1 game. Everyone else? It’s been beatdown city.

So what a pity it is that Jakub Lauko couldn’t be there for all of it.

While he had commitments to the Czech U20 team that occasionally took him out of this gravy train, injury robbed Lauko of almost a month or two’s worth of games and it clearly gave him a half-step backwards as he went cold for a little while, then exploded in production in his return, finishing the season with 41 points in 44 games, including team honors for his 5-assist month of October. So it’s all working out pretty well for him!

And good thing he’s back too, because now he has a chance to go off in the first round, as the Huskies’ first victims are the Shawinigan Cataractes. A team that won a grand total of 14 games this year. A team the Huskies mulched in the season series in a combined score of 23-3. A team that would almost certainly not have made the playoffs had there not been more teams in the Q’s Western Conference.

You can forgive me if I’m not holding my breath for an upset here. This ritual sacrifice begins on the 22nd.

Meanwhile in the QMJHL East, another prospect gets ready to get some post-season action; Cedric Pare. Pare has had one of the best seasons of his life, having a career year in scoring and in point-getting, getting 49 points in 68 games, and being just out of the top 5 of Rimouski’s productive group. But he will probably be likely forgotten by Rimouski fans because...well...

Yeah, the new guy. That 2020 first overall pick new guy. Who had 100 points in his first year in Junior.

Rimouski’s performance in the playoffs this year pretty much rides or dies on whether or not Alexis Lafrenière is...well...attending. Pare’s strong two-way play will undoubtably help keep the pressure on for Oceanic and keep their penalty kills strong, but playing with such a talent means almost everything runs through that talent. They also happen to have Tampa Bay’s Jimmy Huntington and the frenchest name to french ever in Charles-Édouard D’Astous scoring at will, so it’s hard for a guy just having a great individual season to stand out.

Unlike Rouyn-Noranda, Oceanic have a much more challenging first round draw in Chicoutimi. The Sagueneens won 4 out of their 6 meetings with Oceanic, and often in pretty close, one goal games. Rimouski has shown they can hammer the Sagueneens down, but have otherwise had the worst time going against them. Their series will likely be tightly contested. And it begins on the 22nd.

Good luck to both players as they gun for the President’s Cup!