SHERBROOKE | Ethan Gauthier and Mathieu Cataford have known each other for a long time. Starting tonight, they will meet in the QMJHL semi-finals, and the friendly rivalry is likely to go up a notch.
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“Obviously I would like to win in front of him, drops Cataford, of the Halifax Mooseheads. We are two good competitors. We’re not jealous of each other, but deep down inside, there’s a little competition. It’s nothing wrong!”
“We are going to challenge each other, adds Gauthier, from the Sherbrooke Phœnix. We’re not going to give ourselves a gift, but it’s fun to approach a series like that.
They are the two highest ranked QMJHL forwards for the NHL auction. Among North American players, Gauthier ranks 16e rank and Cataford, at 36e.
“It would be a lie to say that I don’t think about the draft at all, but right now 95% of my mind is focused on winning a championship. If we are successful as a team, there are good things that will happen to me, ”believes Gauthier, born in Arizona.
His rival from Saint-Constant, who adores Patrice Bergeron, of the Boston Bruins, admits that the season has been busy with multiple forms to fill out and numerous meetings with recruiters.
“It sticks in our minds, but it didn’t stress me out too much,” says Cataford, who has amassed 75 points, including 31 goals, in 68 regular games, compared to 30 goals and 69 points in 66 games for Gauthier.
“That doesn’t explain my inconsistency at certain times of the season, remarks the Phoenix winger. But when things don’t go your way, you immediately start thinking about what recruiters are thinking. »
A major league pitch
“Ethan already has a major league throw, analyzes his coach Stéphane Julien. The majority of his goals come in net, which you don’t see a lot of in players who are usually drafted in the first round. He also has a physical aspect that we see less and less.
For his part, the Mooseheads coach talks about Cataford’s leadership qualities, high level of competition and versatility.
“He can play on the advantage and the numerical disadvantage. We can rely on him during crucial moments and he can play on the wing as well as in the center, ”lists Sylvain Favreau, while mentioning that his protege can still improve his explosion on skates.