Raphael Lavoie (6-foot-4, 196 pounds) is a right-handed center in his third season with Halifax of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The 18-year-old, who had 73 points (32 goals, 41 assists) and 206 shots on goal in 62 regular-season games this season, is No. 20 in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings of North American skaters. He is a projected first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on June 21-22. Lavoie leads Halifax with 27 points (17 goals, 10 assists) in 17 QMJHL playoff games.
It's hard to believe that spring is here because it is still snowing in Abitibi (Quebec), but the good news is that we are still playing hockey. We played the first game of the President Cup Final against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies on Thursday
This is the first time I have played in a significant playoff final and it's very exciting. We just eliminated Drummondville in six games in the semifinal to reach the goal we had set for ourselves at the beginning of the season.
Forward Xavier Parent (No. 209 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters) scored the series-clinching overtime goal in Game 6 to eliminate the powerful Voltigeurs. The moment was pretty incredible, and we're all happy for him and the team.
When I look at our journey so far, I realize that our seven-game series win against Quebec in the first round was very important for us. We learned a lot from that and it helped us to be better for the rest of the playoffs.
We came close to disaster in facing elimination twice against the Remparts but survived and we learned from that, so that it won't happen again.
In the series against Drummondville, we lost the first game and were in trouble in the second before turning the tide.
We trailed 2-0 and 3-1 in that game. I scored a hat trick to tie the game 3-3 and the whole team regrouped until Arnaud Durandeau (New York Islanders) scored in double overtime to give us a 5-4 win. That's when we took control of the series and we maintained it until the end.
We are once again underdogs against Rouyn-Noranda, the best team in Canada during the season. Most of the pundits favor them, but that's part of the game and everyone is entitled to their opinion.
We focus on what we can do and remember that the game is played on the ice. Anyway, I suspect that the fact that we have a lot of English-speaking players on the team helps us to overlook all that because they can't read the predictions in French!
Things are going well, personally, and it will be a good challenge for me to continue my momentum against the Huskies and their goalie Samuel Harvey, who has the top playoff statistics entering our series (12-2-0, 1.67 GAA, .928 save percentage, three shutouts).
Thanks for reading this month. Here's to a great final!
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