The Quebec Remparts face their QMJHL-rival Rimouski Oceanic on a rematch on Thursday night, both vying for a spot against the Kelowna Rockets in the Memorial Cup semifinal.
It wasn’t the Oceanic that drew the ire of Quebec head coach Philippe Boucher after his team’s 4-0 loss to Rimouski on Wednesday, though. It was the officials.
Boucher called out referees Jonathan Alarie and Olivier Gouin after the game. Quebec was whistled for six penalties, with Rimouski going 2-for-6 with the man advantage.
Of course, Boucher was already concerned coming into the game. He didn’t expect to see Alarie and Gouin at all. The duo officiated Game 7 of the QMJHL final between the Remparts and Oceanic. A double-overtime penalty call in that one led to the game winner for Rimouski.
“I was clear with [QMJHL Director of Officiating] Richard Trottier before the tournament that there was a referee we didn’t want to see here,” Boucher said. “He called the first two penalties tonight, the last four against Oshawa, [and] the penalty in Game 7 [of the QMJHL Championship]. There are personal things with him. We asked if it was possible that he’s not there, and he was there. I know it’s the NHL that makes the decisions on referees [for the Memorial Cup tournament], but the NHL should be made aware of certain things that have happened during the year. Since a linesman was suspended for comments he made about me, it’s been difficult for us. It’s disheartening. It’s a lack of judgment and our league has to advise the people who make the decisions.”
Referees Alarie and Gouin called a total of 11 penalties in the game, seven against the Remparts. The players, time their credit, took responsibility fur the calls against their club.
“I think we got frustrated a little bit during the game because we hit two posts and we were flat,” said Quebec blueliner Raphael Maheux. “We took stupid penalties that killed the momentum.”
“Penalties have cost us goals and taken our momentum,” said Roy. “We have to learn to play five on five. Each guy has to look in the mirror.”
On the bright side for Boucher and the Remparts: a different set of officials will be on the ice tonight. That’s not to say anything about the performance of Alarie and Gouin on Wednesday. Rather, it puts the focus squarely on Boucher. No matter what happens out there, at the end of the night – as his own player Roy said – instead of looking at the officials, Boucher will have to look in the mirror.