Anthony Beauregard played his first game with the Laval Rocket since signing an amateur tryout contract on March 20. This deal comes after the Concordia Stingers men’s hockey forward won the Most Outstanding Player award in U Sports this season, recording 60 points in 28 games. The Stingers season came to end earlier this month following an 8-1 loss to the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds at nationals.
After spending the week practising with the team, Beauregard stepped on the ice for the Rocket on their fourth line, centering Nikita Korostelev and Jeremiah Addison. All three were playing in their first game with the Rocket, facing off against the Charlotte Checkers.
Beauregard said he got nervous jitters out of the way early. “After my first two shifts, I was confident. We had a good line out there [with Korostelev and Addison],” Beauregard said after the game. “The stress was there maybe the first five minutes, but after that I think I just played my game and that’s it.”
The Rocket jumped to a 1-0 lead off a goal from Adam Cracknell. In the second period, Beauregard’s line doubled the Rocket’s lead. Addison found the puck in the high slot before ripping a shot past Checkers goalie Alex Nedeljkovic. Despite not getting a point on the play, the goal seemed to give Beauregard, as well as his line, some confidence for the rest of the game.
Laval blows a 2-0 lead and lose to Charlotte 3-2 in OT. Beauregard was kept to limited minutes. @theconcordian
“I’m just trying to prove to the organization that I belong at this level.”
— Matthew Coyte (@MatthewCoyte16) March 24, 2018
Rocket head coach Sylvain Lefebvre was happy with the line of newcomers, saying they brought energy to the game.
“They made good plays, plays that were thought out, and they weren’t taking too many risks,” Lefebvre said after the game. “In the offensive zone, they had some time and they made some good decisions with the puck. They got some scoring chances as well.”
Lefebvre said he doesn’t know Beauregard well, but he’s curious to see what the new signing could bring to the game. “I wanted to see his hockey sense. I really liked the way that he was composed out there. He won some face-offs, had some good [offensive] zone time, and even defensively, he made some really nice plays to protect the puck and defend. I really liked his game.”
Despite playing little throughout the game, Beauregard showed signs of confidence, setting up two nice scoring opportunities on his first shift. While he didn’t produce anything exceptional, the forward looked comfortable and focused on his positioning.
“I want to prove that I can play in this league. I just want to be in the lineup everyday. I just want to prove to the organization that I can play at this level,” Beauregard said. “The game is just faster. These guys are big, they’re strong. I think I did well today, but I need to bring that every game.”
Beauregard and Lefebvre both talked about areas that need to improve in order for Beauregard to stick with the team. For Beauregard, he said he wanted to focus on “little details,” like face-offs, defensive zone play and on-ice awareness. Lefebvre is looking for Beauregard to continue to work on more technical areas.
“[Beauregard] will be the first to tell you that his skating needs to improve, his strength on the puck as well, but he’s a smart hockey player. He knows what to do with the puck no matter where he is on the ice, defensively or offensively,” Lefebvre said. “He’s aware of what’s going on and making plays for him is second nature.”
The Rocket lost the game 3-2 in overtime. Beauregard finished the game with a +1 rating.
“I felt great. It was a great experience.The result was bad, but at the end of the day, it was good for me and was a great first game,” Beauregard said. “I want to play at this level. I want to play for Laval. We don’t know what’s going to happen at the end of the season, so I just want to do my best and play well.”
Lefebvre said it’s too early to tell if Beauregard will be offered a full contract at the end of the season. Beauregard also played in the following game on Saturday, but was kept off the stat sheet once again.
Pictures by Matthew Coyte.