ECJ: the beginning of a “bromance” between William Dufour and Joshua Roy

EDMONTON – William Dufour and Joshua Roy grew up an hour’s drive away, each on their side of the Pierre-Laporte Bridge. They were each part of the elite of their region and became two of the best players in the QMJHL. Last season, Roy edged Dufour by three points at the top of the Courteau circuit scoring standings.

Still, it’s only in the past year that the two have really gotten to know each other. They rubbed shoulders in December at a Junior Team Canada evaluation camp. In April, they posed on the red line at Saint John’s TD Station for an article in Le Soleil that identified them as « the monarchs of the QMJHL. » Even then, their exchanges were more cordial than friendly.

“We texted each other this winter to congratulate each other when he signed his contract, when I signed my contract. But otherwise, no more than that, said Dufour on Friday. I didn’t even have her Snapchat before! We talked a bit on Instagram, but otherwise it really started to click there. »

“There” is at the World Junior Hockey Championship currently taking place in Edmonton. The two began to bond stronger on the plane that flew them to Calgary for the selection process earlier this summer. It clicked to a point where everyone now considers the other as their best friend within ECJ.

Dufour describes Roy as a  » funny boy « . When they are not on the ice, the two decant at the hotel by playing table tennis or by exchanging videos on Tik Tok. And on Thursday, in a match against Slovakia, they united their efforts on the same line for the first time.

In the third period, head coach Dave Cameron dislocated his first line on which Roy was evolving with Connor Bedard and Mason McTavish. The Beauceron found himself alongside Dufour and Albertan Zack Ostapchuk.

The experience turned out to be conclusive. With his new partners, Roy scored his first goal of the tournament and added an assist, his fourth point of the night.

“Of course we thought we would like to play together, reveals Dufour. You saw yesterday, I think we had a chance to score each time we played together and that’s what we wanted to do. We said so on the bench and that’s what happened. »

The day before, Roy had admitted that the adaptation necessary to play with the two best offensive players on the team had not been as obvious as one might think. “Playing with Bedard and McTavish changes my style of play a bit. They’re two players who are really offensive and are good shooters, so I was more inclined to work in traffic, screen them, all that stuff. It was more me the grinder on the line, ”he explained.

With his new companions, two 6-foot-3 colossi who have been hitting anything that moves since the tournament began, Roy has been able to come closer to his identity.

“It’s sure that if he plays with the other two, it’s more him who will go to the corner to get the puck, agreed Dufour. He no longer had thedirty role« With our trio, we would complement each other very well. We would like to play together, we talked about it again yesterday, but it is not our decision. « 

Roy’s transfer to what is identified as the ECJ’s third line was made possible by the unavailability of Ridley Greig in the third period. It remains unclear why the Ottawa Senators prospect was benched and his status for Saturday’s game against the Czech Republic.

A different role for Dufour

Even before his Quebec colleague landed on his line, Dufour had a thunderous start to the tournament. Used in a more defensive role, the author of 56 goals last season with the Sea Dogs skates tirelessly, uses his size to disturb the opponent, creates a good dose of attack and provides an irreproachable effort in defense.

Team Canada coaches have even inserted him into the rotation of shorthanded forwards, a role he says he filled at age 18 with the Drummondville Voltigeurs, but was barely given in the last year in Saint John.

“It just adds a string to my bow, he remarked proudly after Tuesday’s victory against Latvia in which he also scored a goal. I haven’t really played in PK this year, except at the Memorial Cup. My coach here trusts me defensively and that’s just a plus in my game. »

“There is so much talent in our dressing room, the guys in front of me are very good hockey players. I am very happy with my role at the moment. I am not complaining! »

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