The Concordia Stingers men’s hockey team now has a quartet of goalies with the addition of Marc-Antoine Turcotte
Coming into the 2016-2017 season, Concordia Stingers men’s hockey head coach Marc-André Élement brought in a plethora of fresh talent, including leading goal-scorer Anthony Deluca, forward Philippe Sanche, forward Anthony Beauregard and defenseman Mickaël Beauregard.
In addition, Élement brought in two new goaltenders to make the team more competitive on the back end. The first was Philippe Cadorette, who was an exceptional goaltender with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Cadorette had the league’s best save percentage in 2014 and made the all-star team that same year. The second of these goalies was Marc-Antoine Turcotte, who played for the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL.
“We had the opportunity to improve at the goalie level. Now I’m not saying last year our goalies didn’t do the job. We didn’t have the same team,” Élement said. “We had the chance to bring in two goalies with a lot of QMJHL experience and it’s been an opportunity to let in less goals per game and right now we’re having success.”
When the season started, Cadorette quickly became the team’s number one goalie after two solid games against the Carleton Ravens. Turcotte, on the other hand, had to wait until the winter semester to suit up for the Stingers, as he was ineligible to play due to age restrictions.
Turcotte got his first start with the team on Jan. 4 in a game against the Royal Military College of Canada. He turned aside 20 out of 21 shots in the match, with the team winning 7-1. Since then, Turcotte has been established as the backup goalie.
However, with Cadorette and Turcotte currently holding the number two top spots, the Stingers are in an interesting situation, as they now have four capable goalies on the roster. Miguel Sullivan, who is in his second year with the team, and Antoine Marchand, as well as Turcotte and Cadorette, are all competing with each other for the top spot on the team.
For Élement, the competition is healthy, as none of the goalies have been guaranteed the starting job. According to Élement, if the goalies want to be the starter, they have to earn it.
“It’s going to be big competition to get in the net,” Élement said. “When you have competition, you get better and this is why I like competition within the team. It’s a healthy competition and all of the guys work really hard. They’ve definitely given us a hard time to choose who’s going to play.”
According to Cadorette, having three other goalies to compete with has helped him improve his game this season.
“It’s been good competition because we all want to be the best,” Cadorette said. “Competition makes you better, and there’s plenty of that here.”
Sullivan, who was the starting goaltender at the end of last season, said battling for the net is nothing new, and that it’s a situation every goaltender faces no matter where they play.
“I can’t speak for the other guys, but I haven’t changed the way I play,” Sullivan said. “I still come to the rink and focus on what I have to do. I’m trying to improve everyday.”
“We all know that we can’t afford to take a day off because we’re all ready to play,” added Marchand.
While all four goalies are in intense competition with each other, according to Turcotte and Sullivan, the competition has remained friendly throughout the season.
“It’s been a lot of fun this year. In practice, we play off each other, we kind of joke about it all and the four of us all have good chemistry together, so there’s never been any issues between any of us,” Marchand said.
“I would definitely say it’s a healthy relationship between all of us for now,” Turcotte said.
Before the season started, Cadorette and Sullivan were the top two goalies on the team. With the addition of Turcotte, Sullivan is now the third string goalie and Marchand is the fourth.
Despite his status as a fourth string goalie, Marchand, a fourth-year veteran, has taken his role in stride and been a role model for the younger goalies, according to Élement.
“Being in my fourth year, there is obviously a responsibility on my end to be a leader and to help the team out as much as I can in any role that I’m given, and my mindset is to get better on my own and help us all get better,” Marchand said. “Cadorette and Turcotte have come to me for help in terms of guiding them through the university process, and I’m more than happy to help since I’ve done it before.”
Marchand added that, despite not playing this year, he and the other goalies on the team feel they all get a fair shot in practice. He said, no matter what, he has been put in a position where he feels ready to play if anybody goes down.
With Marchand leaving the team at the end of the season, Élement addressed whether or not he will be looking for a fourth goalie to replace him.
“We’re going to stick to three goalies for now,” Élement said. “I’m happy with how they’ve all played and they’ve definitely met our expectations.”