After winning the last game of the 2022-2023 season, the Remparts lost the first of the 2023-2024 season on Saturday night.
Éric Veilleux’s men lost their flag 5-3 against the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, at the Videotron centre.
Things had started quite well for Éric Veilleux’s men, as Pier-Étienne Cloutier had scored in the second minute of play, but the Drakkar responded with four goals in 4 min 41 s before the end of the second half, especially taking advantage of a lucky goal , the third, which goalkeeper Louis-Antoine Denault would probably have wanted to see again. Despite the Remparts’ subsequent push, they were unable to overcome this deficit.
“I liked our game, except for the short ten-minute break in which they knew how to take advantage. It would have been very easy to give up and stop playing, but it was the opposite. »
Denault is reselling
Speaking of Denault, the 6’7″ goalie bounced back big afterward. After giving up four times on the Drakkar’s first nine shots, he was perfect on the next 21 shots.
“I loved his game, totally. He made some key stops that kept us in the game in the second half. »
In the stands we could see hundreds of “Denault” jerseys, but not with the Remparts colors. The numerous yellow shirts were those of the Saint-Louis Academy, the school that trained the great goalkeeper. Nearly 500 people came to encourage pride in the program.
“I don’t know how big your school is, but there were a lot of people there! We knew where they were and that was fun for him. “It is a great experience,” said Veilleux.
For his part, Denault did not hide having felt nervous in the first half. After all, the mandate was important to him: replacing goalkeeper no. 1 of the team, Quentin Miller, in his first game in the QMJHL, in front of hundreds of people who came to cheer him on.
“At first I was stressed. It was the biggest crowd I’ve ever played in front of and I really wanted to look good, so that was on my mind a little bit. Overall, I think I played well. (…) After the first half, Liz (goalkeeping coach Pascal Lizotte) came to see me and we talked a little. He told me to have fun, focus and get back to my game. That is what I did. »
A message to veterans
Although he praised his goalkeeper and the overall effort of his players, Veilleux did not hide his displeasure with the work of some veterans. Without naming them, he assured that some had to be better than Saturday.
“The level of competition will have to be higher. (…) As far as the power play, we didn’t do much. We had a chance at the end of the third, we lost by one goal and our key players were there. This is where you can give yourself the opportunity to win matches. Our power play was very basic, as they say. Surely tomorrow (Sunday) there will be changes.
“We don’t respect the game”
In the Drakkar camp, coach Jean-François Grégoire left Quebec without being completely satisfied with his team’s performance despite the victory.
“They worked harder than us. (…) Those who have to take charge, I found that they were cheating. They said the Remparts had won the Memorial Cup last year and had therefore lost a lot of players. You can’t disrespect the game and that’s what we did by taking shortcuts. »