The hatching of Nathan Gaucher
For the past few days, Patrick Roy has been full of praise for rookie Nathan Gaucher. Not only has he traded in veteran Edouard St-Laurent for better use, but the head coach of the Quebec Remparts sees him as the worthy successor of Andrew Coxhead, who returns to town on Thursday (7 p.m.) ), in the uniform of the Rimouski Océanic.
A close early season where he was to take the time to discover a new level, the 16-year-old began to flourish. He has just scored two goals in his last two games and five in his last eight, he is used in power play, and in training Wednesday morning, he found himself in the center of James Malatesta and Aleksei Sergeev.
“We see him as a player who can play on 200 feet and who can be effective both on offense and defense. In the draft, we want to have a replacement for Coxhead, a guy able to play against the best opposing trios and be reliable on both sides of the ice while having an impressive physique. I have to admit that he seemed to gain a lot of confidence offensively since we put him on the power play. He has scored two goals in his last two games because he is getting into traffic and going into more difficult situations, “said Roy after training on Wednesday.
The comparison with Coxhead was timely, since the former Remparts player had just taken Gaucher under his wing this season.
“When he left, he apologized for being a little harsh towards me. He really helped me, especially in the defensive zone, he told me a little what to do, “said Gaucher, who had not taken the advice in question as reproach.
At 6 feet 3 inches and close to 190 books, the first-round pick (8 th overall) in 2019 takes place on ice. He explains his recent successes by greater confidence.
“I admit, I didn’t have a good start to the season. I may have been nervous, but I won’t find an excuse, I just didn’t get the start I expected. Honestly, it’s a good check [from midget to junior major], we see it in terms of speed and execution. It’s going well, right now, I’m just adapting a little more to the League, I’m starting to be more confident, ”said the main interested party.
The author of seven goals and seven assists in his first 34 games in the QMJHL is one of the core members of the youth who will lead the Remparts to better days in the coming years.
“We are starting to have fun and a good bond between us, we also have veterans to support us, it can only help us.”
Against his brother
After being measured in Coxhead, Thursday at the Videotron Center, it is a duel of Gaucher which will take place, Saturday, on the occasion of the visit of the Val-d’Or Foreurs since Nathan will face his brother Jacob for the first time. The siblings had to postpone this appointment because Nathan had missed the first two games between the two teams because of his participation in the World Under-17 Challenge.
“It will be special to play against him. We have a good relationship, but on the ice … We talk every day, we watch our games, we make small comments. My brother is also this type of player and one of the best centers in the League who also plays on 200 feet, so that helps me too, ”said the man who also has a younger sister.
CHAMPAGNE KNOWS ITS ROLE
Claimed by the Remparts in the draft for 18, 19 and 20 year-old players from the QMJHL, William Champagne will be in uniform on Thursday due to the injury to Gabriel Montreuil and the absence of Yu Sato. “I wanted to stay in the League and I am very happy to be with the Remparts. I played a bit with Félix Bibeau, he only had good comments to make about them. I am given an opportunity, it will be up to me to prove myself. I am very comfortable with my role, I want to take it up with flying colors, ”said the 18-year-old forward.
The head coach confirmed on Wednesday that the acquisition of Champagne was an insurance policy and the Amqui player is already aware of the situation. “We explained to him his role, which is one of the 13 th striker. We also want to protect ourselves, because our affiliated players [Luneau, Bégin, Audette] have already played several games with us. At the same time, nothing prevents it from surprising us and forcing us to use it, ”explained Patrick Roy about Champagne.