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Timeline — 2004-05

Wildcats – Year nine – 2004-05

The Wildcats started year nine as the team to beat in the QMJHL. With a squad of returning veterans and some key rookie additions, Moncton came out of the starting gate on fire.  They lead the league and were consistently ranked in the top 10 of the CHL up to the Christmas break.

Adam Pineault, the highly ranked American junior came to terms with the team.  Midget sensation Brad Marchand, Latvian defenceman Oscars Bartulis, first round draft pick Wesley Welcher and gritty forward Jérome Samson, were the rookie faces in the Wildcats line-up. 

Veterans Steve Bernier, Bruce Graham, Martins Karsums, Kevin Glode, Ryan Salvis, Josh Hepditch, Christian Gaudet and Luke Pelham added to an impressive offence, while Nathan Saunders anchored the blueline corps, along with second year player Jean-Sébastien Adam.  During the trading period, Moncton obtained defenceman Nathan Welton, forwards Stéphane Goulet and centre Ian Girard but gave up Salvis and Pelham.  20-year-old Francois Caron returned to the Wildcats as they prepared for the second half of the season.

Disaster struck in early January when Karsums injured his ankle in a freak accident in Bathurst and centre Bruce Graham suffered a broken leg.  Both key players were lost to the Wildcats for almost all of the rest of the season. 

In January, the Wildcats hit the skids with a 3-8-1 slump.  They were still second in league standings but on a five game losing streak. Following a humiliating loss in Rimouski, owner Robert Irving, fired head coach Christian La Rue, who had signed a three year contract the previous summer.  Assistant coach Daniel Lacroix took over behind the bench and former Moncton Hawks star Pierre Rioux was brought in as an assistant.

In his second year as an assistant coach, Lacroix found himself with a number of problems. “It was a tough situation.  The team wasn’t going very well, after such a strong start.  Players were going to the World Juniors, then there were some key injuries and that really took its toll.  There’s a type of chemistry that comes from being a winning team and for a while we were a below .500 team but in the last month we came back to an even wins and losses. We made the trade at Christmas and that was a very difficult move. We had overage guys who had grown up in the Wildcats organization, Ryan Salvis and Luke Pelham Kevin Glode and Corey Crawford. To have to pick three from that group was a tough, tough decision. Going into the playoffs, we had great leadership with guys like Saunders, Bernier and Glode. These guys battled hard even with the tough times when we had a very thin line-up, with Francois Caron going down with an injury that really hurt the team. Early in the season we had a schedule that was in our favor with a lot of home games but in the second half we were on the road more,” Lacroix said.  

Going to post season play, Lacroix knew it wasn’t going to be an easy run. “We faced Drummondville in the first round of the playoffs, an up and coming team who consistently beat the top teams in the league after Christmas.  The first round was a big challenge, we had injuries and they were young and hungry, they gave us a good run which could have gone one way or the other.  I thought our calmness and maturity prevailed and our key players stepped up to the plate and that was the difference in the series.” The Wildcats won the series 4 games to 2.

Moncton faced the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in series two. Lacroix well remembers the series. “We faced a team with a lot more speed, they were aggressive and rested.  We had guys banged up from the first series.  That’s when our depth could have really helped us, Martins Karsums didn’t play and that hurt. Their goaltender played well throughout the series.  We lead at key times during some of the games but gave up goals to a very potent offence and just didn’t have enough to hold on,” Lacroix said.

Corey Crawford had an outstanding season in the Moncton net setting a record with a 2.47 goals against average and equaled the record for most shutouts in a season with 6.  Crawford also backstopped the Wildcats to another record, fewest goals against with 175 over the 70 game regular season. 

Steve Bernier lead the points parade with 71, followed by Goulet, Pineault and Bruce Graham.

Team Photo


Click image to view a large version

TOP ROW: Brad Marchand, Stanson Donovan, Wesley Welcher, Jason Demers, Jean-Sebastien Adam, Jerome Samson, Oskars Bartulis, Charles Tanguay, Nathan Francis, Serge Leblanc (Equipment Manager).

MIDDLE ROW: Graham Black (Athletic Therapist), Martins Karsums, Josh Hepditch, Charles Bergeron, Christian Gaudet, Adam Pineault, Bruce Graham, Stephane Goulet, Guillaume Veilleux, Jason Demers, Adam Blanchette, Yan Ouimet, Robert Cormier.

BOTTOM ROW: Corey Crawford, Nathan Saunders, Don LeBlanc (Assistant Coach), Kevin Glode, Christian La Rue (Head Coach), Steve Bernier, Daniel Lacroix (Assistant Coach), Ryan Salvis, Frantz Bergevin-Jean (Goalie Coach), Jean-Christophe Blanchard.

 

View Individual Stats


WILDCATS AWARD WINNERS
Most Valuable Player
Steve Bernier
Leading Scorer
Steve Bernier
Rookie of the Year
Brad Marchand
Outstanding Athletic & Scholastic Performance
Kevin Glode
Most Improved Player
Christian Gaudet
Outstanding Defensive Defenseman
Corey Crawford
Community Spirit Award
Nathan Saunders
Players Choice Award Nathan Saunders
Unsung Hero Christian Gaudet

 

QMJHL Standings 2004-05

ATLANTIC DIVISION
Team
GP
W
L
T
OTL
PTS
GF
GA
Halifax 70 42 16 10 2 96 242 172
Moncton 70 37 23 8 2 84 206 175
Cape Breton 70 32 27 8 3 75 206 195
P.E.I/I.P.E. 70 24 39 7 0 55 198 260
Acadie-Bathurst 70 18 42 7 3 46 163 244
EAST DIVISION
Team
GP
W
L
T
OTL
PTS
GF
GA
Rimouski 70 45 17 5 3 98 333 239
Chicoutimi 70 38 19 6 7 89 264 217
Quebec 70 38 22 5 5 86 267 205
Lewiston 70 32 30 8 0 72 214 209
Baie-Comeau 70 24 37 5 4 57 208 280
WEST DIVISION
Team
GP
W
L
T
OTL
PTS
GF
GA
Rouyn-Noranda 70 31 23 11 5 78 266 244
Shawinigan 70 31 25 12 2 76 199 188
Gatineau 70 33 28 5 4 75 216 237
Drummondville 70 28 27 9 6 71 215 217
Vicoriaville 70 26 36 4 4 60 186 254
Val D’Or 70 21 37 10 2 54 189 236

 

2004 QMJHL Entry Draft

RD
RA
TM
Name
Birth date
Pos.
Last team
1
14
MON
Wesley Welcher
1987-09-14
C
St-John’s
2
24
MON
Brad Marchand
1988-05-11
W
Dartmouth
3
38
MON
Jean-Philippe Chabot
1988-03-31
W
Lévis
3
46
MON
Nick Emmanuele
1987-05-05
D
Cape Breton Trad
4
51
MON
Simon Prosper
1987-01-27
W
Pictou County
5
74
MON
Andrew Bodnarchuk
1988-07-11
W
Dartmouth
5
78
MON
Jason Demers
1988-09-11
D
Tigres La St-Louis
6
94
MON
Jean-Benoit Côté-Vallières
1987-11-05
G
Rive-Sud
7
110
MON
Chris Gardiner
1987-05-21
D
Léo Hayes
8
122
MON
Ryan Barry
1987-07-15
D
Miramichi
9
142
MON
Carl Lauzon
1987-03-06
C
CC-Lemoyne
10
158
MON
Philippe Lalonde
1987-10-07
D
Gatineau
11
174
MON
Nathan Francis
1987-01-02
C
Miramichi
12
188
MON
Patrick Lockyer
1987-05-01
C
Moncton

 

2004 CHL Import Draft

RA
TM
Name
Birth date
Pos.
Last team
27
MON
Oskars Bartulis
1987/01/21
C
CSKA/Russia