BY JONATHAN GAGNON
La Voix de l’Est
CHRONICLE/ Mathis Lacroix-Goulet is ranked among the Top 5 goaltenders of the Quebec AAA Junior Hockey League in terms of wins (8) and goals-against average (2.93). These statistics are even more impressive when we consider that the rookie is only a 16-year-old.
Lacroix-Goulet became the youngest goaltender to have a shutout in LHJAAAQ history on October 2, before he even celebrated his 16th birthday. The Delson, Que., native leads the “Figsby circuit” with four shutouts.
“I really wasn’t expecting this”, he admitted in an interview with La Voix de l’Est.
“I had to adapt to the speed of the game and the quality of the shots. At first, my teammates were not too confident, but the team veterans tell me that they are now very comfortable when I am goaltending. ”
His story is both amazing and inspiring. Let go by the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the QMJHL in August, Mathis Lacroix-Goulet then suffered the same fate among the Riverains du Collège Charles-Lemoyne at the M18 AAA level, even though he had theoretically «made the team» the previous year.
“It was definitely the biggest blow of my life. I had been well established at the College for five years. I was very angry for a few days, not knowing where to go,” said the Secondary 4 student.
Midget Espoir was not a real option for him, since he refused to take a ”step back”. Instead, Lacroix-Goulet chose to compete against athletes who were significantly more advanced in their development.
“I was not promised anything (in Longueuil), I knew I had to earn my spot,” he said.
Age doesn’t really matter
16-year-old players are extremely rare in the LHJAAAQ, and this is even more true for goalies. The staff of the Collège Français showed boldness in recruiting Mathis Lacroix-Goulet. Head Coach and General Manager Eric Bouchard does not regret his decision.
“For us, age doesn’t really matter. We’re more interested in attitude and work ethic. If you deserve to be in the net, we’ll give you a chance”, explained Bouchard.
“All the credit goes to Mathis, he deserves the attention around him”.
At the beginning of the season, Lacroix-Goulet formed a very good duo with Frédéric Duteau-Labonté. Slightly better statistically, however, he is currently with the Tigres de Victoriaville.
An impressive team
The goalkeepers of the Collège Français have the chance to play behind a solid lineup of players. The Longueuil team is right behind the Panthères de Saint-Jérôme at the top of the standing and is even in the top-10 across Canada.
While the CF’s offensive potential was never a doubt, its defensive squad appeared more vulnerable “on paper”. However, it dominates by far the “Figsby circuit” with only 59 goals conceded.
“Parity is very high across the league, so we are working on the little details that will allow us to win 2-1 matches, as is often the case in playoffs. We want to make sure we have the best backcheck and to position our sticks in the defensive zone,” said Eric Bouchard.
Mathis Lacroix-Goulet does not hide it: he hopes that this season will open some doors for him. If everything goes as planned in Longueuil, the goalkeeper will have many opportunities to impress scouts.