No team is coming to the TELUS Cup hotter than the Moncton Flyers.
Since coming back from a COVID-19 shutdown that lasted almost two months
from mid-December to early February, the Flyers have lost just once in a
run of 23 games that has included locking down first place in the New
Brunswick/P.E.I. U18 Major Hockey League (NBPEIU18MHL), and winning
provincial and regional championships.
Moncton has yet to lose in the playoffs – it swept the Northern Moose and
Saint John Vitos to win the New Brunswick title, went perfect in the
preliminary round at the Atlantic Regional in Paradise, N.L., and edged the
Halifax Macs 2-1 to claim the Atlantic crown.
Going 55 days without game action in the middle of the season typically
doesn’t bode well for a team, but it has worked pretty well for the Flyers.
“We just kept saying, ‘We need to continue working hard, we need to stay
focused,’” head coach John DeCourcey says of the mindset during the break.
“Even though we might have been down for a couple of weeks, or couldn't go
to the rink for a couple of weeks, we tried to keep that focus and we
[wanted] to be ready when [we could play again].”
DeCourcey has leaned heavily on his veteran leaders, including six players
who had their names called at the QMJHL Entry Draft – five of whom
(Philippe Collette, Xavier Farrah, Preston Lounsbury, Jack Martin and Luke
Patterson) saw Major Junior action throughout the season.
Patterson is the straw that stirs the drink for the Flyers. The Cape Breton
Eagles prospect (59th overall) led the NBPEIU18MHL in scoring during the
regular season, two points ahead of Collette, and added 12 goals in 12
playoff games, winning MVP honours at the Atlantic Regional.
He also wears the ‘C’ for the Flyers, something that comes from Patterson’s
impact off the ice just as much as what he does on it.
“He was a 15-year-old on our team last year,” DeCourcey says. “He broke his
collarbone in the playoffs, and he was in the [dressing] room even though
he wasn't playing. [We] decided then he was going to be the captain if he
was here [this season].”
Patterson might be the leader, but don’t sleep on the rest of the offence.
Moncton iced five of the top six scorers in the NBPEIU18MHL, including
Zachary Wheeler, who received ‘exceptional status’ to play as a 14-year-old
this season, while defenceman Spencer Gill, who will likely hear his name
called early in the 2022 QMJHL draft, made it six Flyers in the top 10.
Put it all together – the playoff win streak, the high-scoring offence, the
shutdown defence (Moncton allowed less than two goals per game through the
regular season and playoffs) – and the Flyers have a chance to make some
noise in what will be their ninth appearance at Canada’s National Men’s U18
Moncton opens its
TELUS Cup schedule
against the West Region champions, the Notre Dame Hounds, on May 16.
HOW THEY GOT TO OKOTOKS
New Brunswick/P.E.I. U18 Major Hockey League
New Brunswick semifinal: defeated Northern Moose 3-0 (2-1, 4-0, 7-5)
New Brunswick final: defeated Saint John Vitos 4-0 (3-2, 5-0, 3-2 OT, 2-0)
Preliminary round: 4-0-0 – first place (defeated Charlottetown Knights 7-4,
defeated East Coast Blizzard 7-0, defeated Halifax Macs 3-1, defeated
Pinnacle Growlers 6-3)
Final: defeated Halifax Macs 2-1
Regular season record: 25-3-2 (1st in NBPEIU18MHL)
Goals for: 171 (1st in NBPEIU18MHL)
Goals against: 55 (1st in NBPEIU18MHL)
Longest winning streak: 7 (Sept. 24-Oct. 15; Oct. 22-Nov. 12; Feb. 5-March 12)
Top 3 scorers:
- Luke Patterson – 34G 18A 52P (1st in NBPEIU18MHL)
- Philippe Collette – 11G 39A 50P (2nd in NBPEIU18MHL)
- Preston Lounsbury – 23G 19A 42P (4th in NBPEIU18MHL)
Playoff record: 12-0
Goals for: 51
Goals against: 19
Top 3 scorers:
- Luke Patterson – 12G 7A 19P
- Zachary Wheeler – 6G 8A 14P
- Philippe Collette – 6G 7A 13P
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
1977 – Moncton Flyers | fourth place | 4-2-1 | 24GF 19GA
1978 – Moncton Flyers | fifth place | 4-2-0 | 19GF 13GA
1979 – Moncton Flyers | ninth place | 1-3-1 | 15GF 21GA
1980 – Moncton Flyers | eighth place | 2-3-0 | 17GF 20GA
1986 – Moncton Flyers | fifth place | 1-4-0 | 24GF 34GA
2009 – Moncton Flyers | fifth place | 1-4-0 | 15GF 32GA
2012 – Moncton Flyers | fifth place | 1-3-1 | 17GF 22GA
2018 – Moncton Flyers | fifth place | 1-4-0 | 8GF 17GA
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Two-way forward … playmaker with great up-ice vision … quick release shot
Puts up a lot of points … skilled puck possession … high hockey I.Q. ... creates offensive opportunities
QMJHL DRAFTED PLAYERS
Jack Martin – Halifax Mooseheads 2021 (3rd round, 55th overall)
Luke Patterson – Cape Breton Eagles 2021 (4th round, 59th overall)
Preston Lounsbury – Moncton Wildcats 2021 (4th round, 62nd overall)
Philippe Collette – Titan de Acadie-Bathurst 2021 (5th round, 81st overall)
Xavier Farrah – Cape Breton Eagles 2021 (6th round, 96th overall)
Jean-Philipp Boudreau – Remparts de Québec 2021 (11th round, 194th overall)